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Heinz's Dilemma
chaitea
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Post: #1
Heinz's Dilemma
Moral and ethical debates pop up all the time on these types of boards, so might as well get a classic one going. Kohlberg came up with this question when he was developing his (rather biased) stages of moral development.

Quote:A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.

Should Heinz have broken into the laboratory to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not?

It’s not so much about if you feel Heinz was in the right or wrong to have done so, but rather why you’d think that.


As for myself, I can honestly say I’d have done the same thing in his case. So yeah, I think he should have broken in.
As for why I feel this way: Putting my self in his place I see this as “My wife is dying!” Not just anyone’s wife, but mine. If something in my power could prevent such I thing, you're damn right I’d do it. And breaking, entering, and stealing is very much in that power. Besides, it’s not like he didn’t try all other options first. He was trying to compromise. But the pharmacist wasn’t willing to meet him half way (in such a life or death situation), so I’m all for Heinz in this.

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2008-04-18 5:08
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zimmerchild
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Post: #2
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
this one is a little hard for me. the reason being is that there is nothing stated that yes the womans cancer would be cured, nor does it state that if it does stop or cure the cancer that it prevents it from ever comming back. with that said, i would have done exactly what Heinz did. after all in life and death, might / thought, are huge words. and if there is even a .5% chance that it would save the person i loved, you bet you ass i would get it any way possible. well i don't think i would kill for it, unless that was the only way to save them, meaning the kidnapped the person i loved etc. i do think that they pharmascist has something wrong with his ethical compass....bastard.

~Zola.

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2008-04-18 6:32
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lemur
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Post: #3
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
We totally discussed this in Philosophy 2 years ago.

To me 'wrong' and 'right' are very VERY relative concepts, I cannot stress this enough. The pharmacist was being greedy by not thinking of others but rather his own material profit, so I definitely think Heinz did the more altruistic thing. Yes, it is stealing -- but it is over a life, which mind you is more important than greed. Since 'wrong' and 'right' to me are just concepts, I cannot condemn Heinz for breaking into the lab. To me what is important is that everybody is granted certain rights and basic things, and that no man hoards more than his fair share facing situations where someone needs things that to this person aren't absolutely neccessary but to them it is. If this makes sense?
And before you ask, no I'm not a communist. I'm just morally gray and read too much Romantic poetry.
2008-04-18 9:18
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Qarael
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Post: #4
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
I don't think Mr Heinz should've broke into the lab, nope. Mr Druggist shouldn't have been such a douchenozzle as to deny someone's life over $1000, but it was his product, his right, and his private space. Beyond that, if it were Mr Heinz's wife's time to go, it was an awfully selfish move on Mr Heinz's part to steal the cure for her. The only motivation for that is "I want to keep you". Maybe she isn't meant to be kept. He really should've just come to peace with the situation, used what he gathered for funeral costs, and trusted in the way things are.

Besides... I think Mr Druggist would've been made out to be more of an ass if she did die, which might've led to a resolve in the pricing problem. Now it's Heinz that looks wrong.

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2008-04-18 11:30
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Post: #5
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
I can see both sides of the argument and I would say that both parties are, from a moral perspective, are in error. I also understand why they could/would choose the actions they choose and as such are "right", each in their own sense.
I don't see "impending death" as all that terrible as I really do feel that there's a lot of things worse than death. That and I despise the idea of number of days spent alive being more important to feeling alive and as such would see the medication to be "prolonging the woman's torture" if it wasn't relatively highly likely that she'd be fully cured.
All in all I don't think there's any single "right" solution to the dilemma, I do however see a few other ways to go about things. The dilemma is a little outdated but if we put it into a modern perspective, I'd go to the media with my story and start a proper money drive if I were in his situation.

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2008-04-18 18:00
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simim23
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Post: #6
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
I'd have done it, absolutely, hell, even without raising the money. I'd have held him at gunpoint, grabbed the cure, and told him if anyone found out I'd kill him.

Or even kill him outright(without a gun), disguise it as an accidental death, and gtfo of there.

Even if I went to jail, or if my wife left me and hated me forever for being immoral and wrong, at least she's still okay.

If I love someone, my life matters less to me than theirs, simply put.

And my morals are slim to none; there's little I wouldn't think of doing without a situation like this occurring, and I'd do ANYTHING to protect the people I love. ANYTHING. Even if it isn't in my immediate power, I'll make it into my immediate power without delay and do it.

Now, if it was, say, someone I didn't love or care for getting screwed over? I could give a rat's behind less.

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2008-04-18 18:22
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Post: #7
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
Ditto on Sim's comment. I'd kill the bastard before I let my wife die. It is wrong, yes, by most people's standards. But if the government can choose a belief and force people to kill and die for it, then I should be able to kill and die for my own chosen beliefs.

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2008-04-18 19:50
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Miniar
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Post: #8
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
I am perplexed by how you are so unwilling to let your loved ones go... even to the point of taking the life of the guy that can create the drug, possibly causing the process of making the drug to be lost, dooming other people's loved ones to the death you are so unwilling to allow your own to have.

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2008-04-18 20:14
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Deros
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Post: #9
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
But they aren't mine to worry about. I take a rather drastic (and vaguely draconic) approach to the world. This right here? This stuff? This is MINE. Nobody messes with what's mine. Ever. That other stuff that isn't mine? Well, that can go to hell for all I care.

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2008-04-18 21:23
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simim23
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Post: #10
Re: Heinz's Dilemma
Deros Wrote:But they aren't mine to worry about. I take a rather drastic (and vaguely draconic) approach to the world. This right here? This stuff? This is MINE. Nobody messes with what's mine. Ever. That other stuff that isn't mine? Well, that can go to hell for all I care.

Exactly.
I'm here, while I'm here, these things are mine. They'll be mine even after I'm gone.
And they're gonna have the happiest, most wonderful life ever, if I can help it.
If my loved one WANTED to die, that's another story(thanks to you, Freetha, my opinions on suicide have changed.)
But hopefully, they love me back as much as I love them. The only reason I don't up and end it all sporadically(because, really, what's the big deal? I can come back if I wish), is because I don't want to make my loved ones hurt. I should hope they feel the same way.
If they wanted to die, and they explained it to me, I'd leave the guy alone.
If they didn't want me to use "immoral" means to get them help, I'd leave the guy alone, or keep on pleading, or find another way to get the money.
But if they don't have a problem with it, the guy goes bye-bye, and we're all happy... except for whatever loved ones that guy had, which I could care less about.

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2008-04-20 23:10
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