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In this scenario, is it right to steal?Mary is poor. She has not been able to find a...

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cjones0333 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted September 30, 2012 at 10:48 PM via web

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In this scenario, is it right to steal?Mary is poor. She has not been able to find a job and has two children she needs to feed. Assume Mary is forced to let her children go hungry or steal some food from a local grocery store. Which should she do? Construct an argument that supports Mary's decision to steal the food or an argument that shows why Mary should not steal the food. Critique the arguments offered by your classmates.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 30, 2012 at 11:08 PM (Answer #2)

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Kant would say that you make your decision based on what you could will as a universal law.  So, if you want to argue that Mary should steal, you have to ask what your law would be.  It might be "all people can steal as long as they are only stealing what they absolutely need from someone who can afford it."  If Mary would be able to accept this as a universal law then it is right for her to steal.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 1, 2012 at 2:43 AM (Answer #3)

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A utilitarian would say that saving the children from starvation would be the better choice, since there is more utility in saving lives than there is harm in costing the store money.  Aristotle's moral theory would obtain the same results because the mother would be acting viruously, that is doing something to promote human well-being. 

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 1, 2012 at 5:51 PM (Answer #4)

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If the scenario is posed as a choice between saving the lives of her children or letting them die with stealing food being the only mechanism of salvation, it seems then that the mother would be forced to steal. If this is the only way to save lives, this is the only moral choice. I suppose I am just echoing the utilitarian perspective posited by speamerfam.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 1, 2012 at 8:26 PM (Answer #5)

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There is always another choice.  Morally, you need to decide when to answer to a higher authority.  Stealing is wrong, but letting children starve is worse.  Mary should ask for the food.  I would be willing to bet the store worker would give it to her.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:40 AM (Answer #6)

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In this scenario I don't think it is right, or morally justifiable to steal, but put in that situation I think most parents would do whatever they could to protect their children.  I do agree with above posters in that there is almost always more than one solution to a problem.

 

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portd | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:58 PM (Answer #7)

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I agree with Post #6; it isn't right, or morally justifiable to steal. However, considering the circumstances, most would steal to save the lives of their children. I also agree with Post #5; Mary should ask for the food.

She could also make a proposal to the store owner that she will perform some kind of work task for the store to 'earn' the food, even if it's a small one-hour task or something that the owner agrees to let her perform, such as some janitorial work. In the end, it's all about compassion and mercy anyways, and getting the children fed is the priority. Addressing the morality of the situation (so stealing doesn't occur again) is something to deal with once food is in the childrens' mouths.

It's not that Mary wants to steal; she believes she has no choice but to steal. Stealing isn't right and the ideal action is for her to do something other than steal. But if she sees no alternatives, she will feel forced to steal the food.

Stealing

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suzannah304 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:07 PM (Answer #8)

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It is always told that no matter how bad the situation might be there is always a choice and according to me stealing can never be a choice. It's better to rather die starving than to involve yourself in such immoral activity. Stealing is like being a pessimist but we should always be an optimist in our life.

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bullbudder | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted November 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM (Answer #9)

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like swami vivekananda said ,like lord buddha said, like prophet said,like chadhakaya said ,like any other post above me said that stealing is just wrong

to steal is not good even in the above case to steal is wrong BUT

the mother when she thinks about her starving children stealing is good but she

FORGETS to think about all other poor starving children and their mother in the rest of the world she is doing wrond to steal ,she is teaching other poors to steal

to steal for good is goood but to teach stealing is worst 

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