Heinz Dilemma essay

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The subject of moral development has a lot of interest in both education and psychology. Lawrence Kohlberg, a psychologist, modified and extended the work of Jean Piaget to come up with a theory which explicated the development of moral reasoning. Jean Piaget described a process of moral development which consists of two stages. On the other hand, Kohlberg’s theory outlined six stages of moral development which are intertwined within three separate levels. As aforementioned, the theory developed by Lawrence Kohlberg was an expansion of Piaget’s theory.  It proposes that moral development is a process which is continuous and  occurs in the entire lifespan of an individual.

The theory of Kohlberg is based upon interviews and research which he carried out with groups of little children. Kohlberg presented a series of moral dilemmas to young children. He thereafter interviewed them to find out which reasons were behind their judgments with regard to each scenario. An example of the dilemmas which Kohlberg presented to the groups of young children was the one of Heinz. It is worth to note that Kohlberg was not particularly interested in the answers which the children gave with regard to whether Heinz was right or wrong when he decided to steal the drug for the sake of his wife who was nearly dying. Instead, his main interest was on the reasoning that was behind the decision of each participant. Kohlberg used the responses of the young children to come up with his theory of moral development. He classified the various responses that he received into different stages of reasoning.

According to me, Heinz was right to steal the medicine from the druggist.  As such, if I were Heinz, I would have done the same thing that he did. The third level of Kohlberg’s theory is about postconventional morality. My answer falls within this level of Kohlberg’s theory. It specifically falls under the sixth stage of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development which is concerned with universal human ethics. It is based upon abstract reasoning and worldwide ethical principles.  This is the final level of moral reasoning according to Kohlberg’s theory. It is the stage where human beings follow their internalized beliefs about justice, even in cases where these beliefs seem to conflict with the set rules and laws. In view of the aforementioned, Heinz was right to steal the medicine since he was doing that to save the life of a human being which is more valuable than the property rights which  the druggist had over his medicine.

Sexual double standard refers to a view which accepts and encourages the sexual expression of men and boys more than that of women and girls. The sexual double standard rewards and praises men and boys for heterosexual behaviors whereas women and girls are stigmatized and condemned for exhibiting the same behaviors. Even though most of the findings from research on sexual double standard have always been equivocal, several researches have generated results which suggest that the relationship between peer status and lifetime sexual partnerships vary considerably by gender. As such, it has been established that a large number of sexual partners are correlated positively with boys’ peer acceptance. The reverse is true when it comes to girls, that is, a large number of sexual partners are correlated negatively with girl’s peer acceptance. It is therefore worth noting that there exists an adolescent sexual double standard. For instance, adolescent boys can have several sexual partners as compared to girls without being stigmatized. In addition, television and movies such as the “South Park” have always portrayed the act of boys having sex with older women as an exciting experience. Most of the teenage boys who have engaged in sexual activities with older women have often expressed the view that they did it voluntarily and that they enjoyed the whole experience. It is also evident that parents usually treat their children differently such that they give their adolescent boys more freedom than their adolescent daughters.

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