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23Re: tom's situ

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  • Chioh
    Jul 30, 1999
      Yup, i agree with jarod here -- let the existential individual make his or
      her own moral choice. Consequentialist ethical theories like
      utilitarianism, try to use rational methods to decide whether an action is
      right or wrong. It is up to the existential individual to decide if he or
      she wants to believe in such ethical theories; thus if the daughter, after
      being alerted of the imminent danger, is an utilitarian, she would go for
      option 1 of saving the passengers. It is not really a case of conflicts
      between existentialism and utilitarianism as tom seems to suggest.

      chioh

      At 09:52 AM 7/30/99 -0400, you wrote:
      >From: Jarod_Rollins@... (Jarod Rollins)
      >
      >>A man is walking along a bridge when he sees that a train carrying
      >>hundreds
      >>of passengers is almost certainly to go plumetting several hundred feet
      >>into
      >>a canyon below. Seeing this, he realises that he can alert the driver
      >>by
      >>rushing towards a nearby emergency button. Unfortunately, the button is
      >>only accessible by his young daughter as he is far too big to reach it
      >>through the tunnel in which it resides. The button, however, is
      >>situated in
      >>a location that will go plumetting into the canyon along with the
      >>train. He
      >>can choose one of two options :-
      >
      >>1) Coerce his young daughter into the "game" of pushing the button even
      >>though he knows it will result in her certain death. The train
      >>passengers
      >>will most likley survive.
      >
      >>2) Watch the train go plumetting into the canyon, killing hundreds. His
      >>daughter survives.
      >
      >
      >>Surely one for the existentialist deciding upon moral decision making?
      >>I'm
      >>damned if I can take a moral high ground! Utilitarianism would point
      >>towards option 1. What would the individual existentialists on this
      >>list
      >>choose? Maybe the nature of your philosophy dictates that it is too
      >>contrived to have meaning to you?
      >
      >>Tom
      >
      > Such an interesting position. I'll stick to basic existensism to
      >answer this. It boils down to freedom. Every occupant on that
      >speeding train was free to choose to be on that train. And by being on
      >that train they have accepted all the dangers of making that choice
      >(ignorance of that choice is no excuse) ,including death. On the other
      >hand the child would have no real choice, she would be losing all her
      >freedom to save those who voluntarily gave up theirs. It's no contest.
      > The only thing to do as far as I see is to TELL THE TRUTH to the girl
      >saying "you are the only one who can save those people but by hitting
      >that button you may die"
      >
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