Sacrificing Principles

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Mentally Ill
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 09:19 pm
@Amperage,
Exactly. So how does placing infinite value on a person's life allow the possibility of letting everyone in the world die, like you said before in post #18?
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 09:22 pm
@Mentally Ill,
Mentally Ill;154267 wrote:
Exactly. So how does placing infinite value on a person's life allow the possibility of letting everyone in the world die, like you said before in post #18?

assume the trolley problem with the entire world minus yourself and one other person tied down to the main track and the other person tied down to the other side....

according to you and I's view, we should STILL not flip the switch
 
Mentally Ill
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 09:31 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154269 wrote:
assume the trolley problem with the entire world minus yourself and one other person tied down to the main track and the other person tied down to the other side....

according to you and I's view, we should STILL not flip the switch


I don't think anything would be intrinsically wrong with letting that many people die, but at that point I think more would come into consideration than just the value of the individual lives.

Regardless though, this is why I despise thought experiments - they leave no choices open except the ones they propose.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 09:33 pm
@Mentally Ill,
Mentally Ill;154277 wrote:
I don't think anything would be intrinsically wrong with letting that many people die, but at that point I think more would come into consideration than just the value of the individual lives.

Regardless though, this is why I despise thought experiments - they leave no choices open except the ones they propose.
if nothing else perhaps it helps to show that almost any philosophy is a compromise of one type or another and that at the extremes perhaps certain sacrifices should be made
 
Mentally Ill
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 09:43 pm
@Amperage,
As long as you recognize your role in the action, anything goes...IMO.
I'm a nihilistic moral existentialist (just made that up, don't know if it exists as a term yet), in that I don't believe that anything is intrinsically right or wrong. We follow a self-imposed system of ethics based on reason.
Therefore, if you want to sacrifice a principle for a number of lives, I don't think that's wrong. However, within the framework of our logical ethics it would be inappropriate.

I would probably deem the continuance of human society as more important than a single life and flip the switch at that point, while not valuing the actual lives of the masses over the life of the individual.
 
johannw
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 09:52 pm
@Amperage,
I think the whole trolley example is a total ethical run-around, or paradox. You could argue that 5 lives are more valuable than 1, but there are too many factors to calculate that accurately and objectively (i mistakenly used subjectively in my earlier post). that single person could be the single father of three children that are all under ten years old, and those five people could all be elderly people from a shelter that have made their contribution to society, so the idea that saving five is worth killing one might not be so logical from a "utilitarian" perspective (i'm just regurgitating your point for my own clarification, really), but like you said, valuing a life is for too relative and SUBjective because everyone's value is infinite to someone else.

This problem is an interesting one, but a frustrating one as well because no matter the scenario, there's logical reasons to react in either way. It's circular or a vicious cycle, if you will. There's far too many factor to be able to make a conclusive, universal standard on how to react.
 
Mentally Ill
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 10:00 pm
@johannw,
Just don't use utilitarianism to make your value judgments, because that treats people as a means to an end.
That's pretty much the only point I've been trying to make this whole time.
 
johannw
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 10:05 pm
@Mentally Ill,
Mentally Ill;154289 wrote:
Just don't use utilitarianism to make your value judgments, because that treats people as a means to an end.
That's pretty much the only point I've been trying to make this whole time.


Yeah, you're right. I guess that's just the way I confronted the problem from the beginning.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2010 05:17 am
@johannw,
johannw;154285 wrote:
valuing a life is for too relative and SUBjective because everyone's value is infinite to someone else.

This problem is an interesting one, but a frustrating one as well because no matter the scenario, there's logical reasons to react in either way. It's circular or a vicious cycle, if you will. There's far too many factor to be able to make a conclusive, universal standard on how to react.
I wouldn't have any problem trying to save Sandra Bullock over any senior citizen, does that make me bad?
 
johannw
 
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2010 07:15 am
@Amperage,
Quote:
I wouldn't have any problem trying to save Sandra Bullock over any senior citizen, does that make me bad?


Haha no I don't think that makes you a bad person... At least I hope not. But that's because I'd do the same.

But wait, what if that senior citizen was your grandmother or grandfather?
 
Wisdom Seeker
 
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2010 09:41 am
@Amperage,
i will choose for what is the best even i become corrupted rather than accept more losses which gives no advantage.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2010 01:58 pm
@johannw,
johannw;154428 wrote:
Haha no I don't think that makes you a bad person... At least I hope not. But that's because I'd do the same.

But wait, what if that senior citizen was your grandmother or grandfather?
Excelent counter argument, and what rightfully should have been asked.

Hmmmm! Now my granparents are dead, but if they were alive.

In all honesty the dog in me would easily choose the Sandra Bullock for which would have a valuable future, making movies, making children ..and her beauty, etc. Besides, my granparents have had their shot in life.

My reasonable side would have difficult letting go of long memories with my granparents, that nutureing and responsability they have shown and proved, over some stranger that basicly could be a pain in the ass.

It would be a terrible dilemma overall, I know I most likely would be recented for choosing Sandra Bullock over my granparents, on the other side millions of fans might recent me for choosing my granparents.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

I would have to choose Sandra Bullock ..and may all forgive me for that choise.
 
johannw
 
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2010 02:08 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;154581 wrote:

I would have to choose Sandra Bullock ..and may all forgive me for that choise.



You are forgiven! Very Happy
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 11:08 am
@Amperage,
Amperage;153380 wrote:
I was thinking about a couple things the other day that were sort of related to a thread that cropped up titled, "The Choosing Dilemma", which basically portrayed a hypothetical where you are forced to choose which person dies between 2 people and if you don't choose, then they both die.

I found this question to be, in some way, related to the "trolley problem" which, if you aren't familiar with it, basically says, a runaway train is headed down a track and 5 people are tied to the track...but you're in luck because you can switch the train onto a different track....unfortunately 1 person is tied down on that track...Do you switch the track or not?


Now, in that thread, I came to the conclusion(after a change of thought through the discussion)that, the only "moral" thing to do would be to not switch the track; as switching it would mean that I would have actively killed someone who, otherwise, wasn't going to die.

Anyways, the way this related to "The Choosing Dilemma" thread is that my initial thought was the only "moral" thing to do(if I'm going to be consistent) would be to not choose. Thereby meaning both people would be killed.



But this got me to thinking.......is it "right" for me to not choose just to maintain my principles/conscience/peace of mind? Wouldn't it be a bit self-righteous on my part to let 2 people die when only 1 had to just so I don't "get my hand's dirty?"

I mean what if it was the same scenario only with 10 people and he said choose 1 or all of them die?

To be consistent with my thoughts on the "trolley problem" I'd have to not choose thereby letting 9 people die who didn't have to....

I guess the question is.....in such a case would "hiding" behind my principles be a cop-out? Is one's own "self-righteousness"/principles worth letting people die needlessly just to not be directly implicated?

Especially when I can rationally understand that such an isolated thing is NOT going to set a precedent for the world as whole. With the trolley problem someone might say, "well if you think you should switch the track does that mean we should start killing people and harvesting their organs to save a much greater number?" But in reality are the small scale scenarios worth sacrificing one's principle(for the greater good) that one would never sacrifice on a large scale(basically the fundamental difference between a kill 1 person or both die scenario vs. a kill someone to harvest their organs to save dozens type scenario)?

I'm really conflicted on this...either that or I need to change my mind about the trolley problem



I think you need to flesh out your new example, which seems importantly different from the Trolley Problem. If, for example, there is a switch that has three positions, one in which a valve is closed for one room, another in which a valve is closed for another room, and one intermediate position in which the valves both remain open, and suppose that the switch is in the intermediate position and poison gas is about to flow into both rooms unless one flips the switch one way or another, and there is a person in each room who will die if poison gas goes into the room, and suppose that one cannot let the people out of the rooms or otherwise stop the poison gas other than this one switch. I would throw the switch in this case, because no one is being killed by this; one's inaction would allow both to die, and so no one dies as a result of throwing the switch; only someone does not die who would have died otherwise.

But perhaps you have a different scenario in mind, in which case, I would want to hear more about it before deciding.
 
north
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 11:35 am
@johannw,
perhaps sacrificing the self though saves them all

putting one in front of the trolly would cause the trolly to brake , and therefore of course save eleven people
 
Amperage
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 12:07 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;155715 wrote:
I think you need to flesh out your new example, which seems importantly different from the Trolley Problem. If, for example, there is a switch that has three positions, one in which a valve is closed for one room, another in which a valve is closed for another room, and one intermediate position in which the valves both remain open, and suppose that the switch is in the intermediate position and poison gas is about to flow into both rooms unless one flips the switch one way or another, and there is a person in each room who will die if poison gas goes into the room, and suppose that one cannot let the people out of the rooms or otherwise stop the poison gas other than this one switch. I would throw the switch in this case, because no one is being killed by this; one's inaction would allow both to die, and so no one dies as a result of throwing the switch; only someone does not die who would have died otherwise.

But perhaps you have a different scenario in mind, in which case, I would want to hear more about it before deciding.
yeah I need to think about it some more. I think the biggest thing for me is the thought of actively participating in killing one person or the other vs the alternative of me inactively watching as both die.
 
north
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 12:09 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;155727 wrote:
yeah I need to think about it some more. I think the biggest thing for me is the thought of actively participating in killing one person or the other vs the alternative of me inactively watching as both die.


then sacrifice yourself
 
Amperage
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 12:12 pm
@north,
north;155729 wrote:
then sacrifice yourself
if that was an option clearly I'd take that route....assuming that isn't an option though
 
north
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 12:15 pm
@Amperage,
Quote:
Originally Posted by north http://www.philosophyforum.com/images/PHBlue/buttons/viewpost.gif
then sacrifice yourself



Amperage;155731 wrote:
if that was an option clearly I'd take that route....assuming that isn't an option though


nothing in post #1 of this thread suggest that you couldn't
 
Amperage
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 12:18 pm
@north,
north;155732 wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by north http://www.philosophyforum.com/images/PHBlue/buttons/viewpost.gif
then sacrifice yourself





nothing in post #1 of this thread suggest that you couldn't
well it is a built in part of the trolley problem and if you look up the thread titled "Choosing Dilemma" or whatever it was called....it was something like that...it's also stipulated in there that you can't choose yourself. And since those are the only 2 situations I mentioned originally I just let the threads and problems I referenced to bear that out. But you are correct I did not specifically say that....and I probably should have.
 
 

 
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