Law Case Essay, Research Paper
In the case of Denise, the single mother, and her eight year old daughter, Sally, the two of them face a moral dilemma. Denise cannot afford the anticonvulsant drugs needed to control Sally s extreme seizures. Since she cannot afford them she steals the medicine from the drug store where she is employed as a check-out clerk. This way she can still provide a home, food and clothing for her daughter and herself. This, in essence, keeps Sally alive and Denise self-sufficient. Denise believes strongly in the value of working and does not want to be unemployed just to qualify for medical insurance. Denise knows that she is facing a moral problem, but she feels that as a mother she has no other options.
In the strictest sense of the law, stealing is illegal. Denise is taking something that she did not pay for and is not hers, therefore, she is acting illegally. The reductionist theory states that a person is free to do what is positively prohibited by law . Theft is strictly prohibited in the criminal code and is fully punishable through the justice system. What Denise is doing is against the law. Laws are created to protect, regulate and control society and if they are not adhered to then the societal standards, values and ethics are in jeopardy. If every person in society was to choose what laws they wanted to follow, there would be no control in society and it would ultimately lead or end up in anarchy.
If Denise is caught stealing the medicine from her employer, then she should be punished. Denise is committing an illegal act and should be treated the same way any other employee who is doing the same act would be, in accordance with company policies. She should lose her job and not be able to receive a letter of recommendation. This punishment would be enough as she is desperate for her daughter s medication and does not want to receive government assistance in order to pay for it. If policy states, individuals who are caught stealing will be charged, then Denise should be treated in the same manner.
When Denise was unemployed, she qualified for medical assistance. Although Denise believes in the value of working and wishes to be self-sufficient, the best way for her to solve her moral dilemma is to receive government assistance and remain unemployed. If she truly has her daughter s best interest at heart, she should put her own belief’s aside and collect medical assistance. If she was caught stealing her daughter s medication and received a large fine, she would be even more desperate for money and, in the worst case scenario, she could be placed in jail. What would become of her daughter then?
The Greek philosopher Aristotle, was a theologist whose main concern was in ends . In Denise s case the ultimate end was Denise s self-sufficiency and to still get the medication her daughter needed. Aristotle was a natural law philosopher who believed that we must have the choice to decide what goes on physically and mentally within our bodies. We must make our own conscious decisions and stand by them. As his theories state, Aristotle would have agreed with Denise s choice of actions in stealing her daughter s medication from her employer. He would have argued that in some cases human dignity stands above the laws of the state.
Kant, contrary to Aristotle, would disagree with what Denise is doing. He regards certain acts as either just right or just wrong, regardless of the circumstances. Although, in Kant s theory on Hypothetical Imperative, he states that people do things and make choices because the think it will give them something they want in return. Denise chose to steal the medication because she knew she could keep her job and get the drugs, in return.
John Stuart Mill was also a philosopher who would agree with the decisions that Denise made. Mill stated that good and bad could not be defined in one common way. He said that good and bad were interrelated with their surrounding circumstances, and that happiness had to be the ultimate end. In this case, the circumstances in Denise and Sally s lives, forced Denise to commit the crimes she did. Denise had her daughter s happiness in mind, and that was her ultimate goal, therefore according to Mill, Denise s crimes were not considered bad.