Kohlberg bases his concept of morality on three prime stages of Moral development. The first one is the Pre-conventional Level which commonly associates with one’s early childhood. Under this level, one perceives rules and labels regarding right or wrong by consequence of action such as rewards or punishments (Kolb, 2008). Two stages exist in this phase that is the “punishment and obedience orientation” and the “Instrumental Relativist orientation.” The former advocates that goodness and badness are determined by the consequences while the latter implies that right consists of what satisfies one’s need hence there are elements of reciprocity. In my early childhood, for instance, despite lacking the understanding on why I should do good or bad, I used to obey figures of moral authority like my parents based on my fear of mental or physical punishments like not getting a gift for Christmas or worse, getting spanked.
Currently, I am on the second level of moral development, the Conventional Level. Under this, Kohlberg explains that one’s moral reasoning and judgment conform to societal expectations, that is, one’s behavior is influenced by their families, friends or even country (Kolb, 2008). Two distinct stages also exist at this level. First is the “Good Boy-Nice Girl Orientation,” which bases on the other people’s approval of good or bad and the “Law and Order Orientation” in which one’s behavior is affected by legitimate expectations of them. I like to do well with the aim of making my parents proud and fulfilling my moral duty as a citizen. Admittedly, Peer pressure plays a significant role in influencing a number of my moral decisions as there is always pressure to ‘fit in’ for instance, I once sneaked from home after curfew to have fun since most of my friends and age mates were allowed out at such hours.
Finally, Kohlberg’s Post conventional level, which I consider more advanced and mature entails an independent view of moral values and principles. According to Kohlberg, this level bears the stage of “Social- Contrast legalistic orientation” which involves determining right or wrong based on an analysis of standards and rights set individually and accepted by society. It also has the “Universal ethical-principle orientation” stage; entailing behavioral decision making based on one’s conscience about selected ethical principles. These chosen principles adhere to rules of logic, consistency, and universality (Kolb, 2008).
The Heinz dilemma presents a proper platform for the application of moral behavior. Under this dilemma, a man (Heinz) is forced to choose between civil breaking into the druggist’s house and stealing medication that would help save his wife’s life or conform to the legal boundaries and not break in, which would mean letting his wife die .Two moral liberties are at war in a dilemma since one advocate for carrying out civil disobedience for the greater good of saving a life (Pro-life), while the other demands strict abidance to legal rules (Smith 2013).
I would have broken into the house and stolen the medicine. My decision is justifiable, based on series of responses given by a boy called Jack, regarding the dilemma (Pojman & Fierser, 2017). Concerning Jacks response, I would argue that human life cannot be compared to money as life is more valuable. Furthermore, it is morally unethical for the druggist to equate his exaggerated profit margin to the life of a fellow human being. Although the druggist violated no legal rules, he should have made a logical consideration of the urgency to save a life and the financial limitations of Heinz since, even by accepting the $1000 offered, he would still have made a reasonable profit.
Therefore following the disregard of logic by the druggist, being in Heinz’s shoes, I would have also disregarded my logical duty to obey the law and steal the drugs. I would then argue that no law is greater than human life.