Kohlberg's moral dilemma is an excellent classroom activity on ethics. This ethical dilemma can be used for Middle and High School students. You could use the scenario to set up a debate in the classroom or you could assign this as a writing activity for your students.
Kohlberg’s Moral Dilemma
In Europe, a woman was near death from a very bad disease, 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 10 times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2000 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 get together only about $1000, which was 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.” Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife. (Source: Kohlberg, L. (1969).
Question: Should Heinz have stolen the drug? Why or why not?