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26Re: tom's situ

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  • Tom
    Jul 30, 1999
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      > From: Chioh <wchioh@...>
      > 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.

      The daughter would not be a utilitarian. To clear up the ambiguity, she is
      young and naive and would probably do what her father told her unless her
      gut feelings dissuaded her, causing her to defy. Therefore, if he was to
      tell her to do it along with an honest depiction of the anticipated
      scenario, then she may well still do it. This comes on to Jarod's ideas:-

      From: Jarod_Rollins@... (Jarod Rollins)

      >It seems like most of us agree that tricking the child is out of the
      ethical question but does the father have the
      >right to even suggest to his daughter that she should push that button?
      Would he be still be taking away her
      >freedom by using his parental role to sway her decision? Since freedom is
      deeply important to the
      >existentialist is there a limit to which we should allow ourselves to sway
      the decisions of others? I agree that
      >the freedom of making mistakes is greater than a freedom from making
      mistakes but is it "wrong" to sit idle
      >by and let another make a mistake that ends in death?

      Perhaps not. The question of the ethics of the father's action seems also
      to relate to that of the train operators. It is assumed that the child is
      not capable of making reasoned, in-depth decisions but why should it be
      assumed that the train passengers are in a more "advanced" position? Should
      the train passengers really be penalised for their ignorance and hence
      probable lack of awareness of the potential risks? If the risks had never
      even occurred to them then the train company would logically be put into a
      similar "paternal" role. That is, the train company's obligation to ensure
      the safety of the passengers (like that of the father for his daughter).
      The risks may not have occured to the train company either....and so it goes

      Why should it be assumed that the child has any more right to ignorance than
      the train passengers? To my mind, it's just an abstract idea that suits the
      existentialist rather than a reasonable deduction.

      Without introducing the concept of utility doesn't the child have no more
      rights than the passengers? The passengers have been deceived have they
      not, much like the daughter would be deceived by her father?

      I'll just get my calculator out and do a cost/benefit analysis :-))

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