Scenario: There are a group of people on a lifeboat and the boat is sinking. There is also a 400 pound man on the boat. The problem is the boat can only hold ten normal size people. Having said that, the group has to come up with a decision for their survival; so what should they do? Below are the conversations among the passengers.
Consequentialist: If this man is too heavy and he’s going to make the lifeboat sink, we need to decide what to do. Should we throw him overboard? We have to save ourselves. Morally we know that if we throw him overboard he will drown and we will be responsible for his death. I’ve always believed that “Thou shall not kill” – one of the Ten Commandments. Let’s suppose we do throw him overboard and the boat still sinks? Why should all of us drown when it’s only one of him? I think we should pray that someone will come along and save us. Let’s weigh our options because it’s wrong to throw him overboard. “Hence Consequentialism is opposed to common sense and so is probably wrong” (Foot 1967).
Nonconsequentialist – Why shouldn’t we throw this man overboard? He’s the heaviest person in the lifeboat. Who cares if we do throw this 400 pound man overboard, he’s the reason the boat is sinking. It’s morally wrong to throw someone overboard regardless but who cares? It doesn’t matter whether it’s immoral because we all want to live; and if it takes getting rid of one person, so be it. It feels right to throw him overboard to save ourselves. So what if we get charged with murder, it’s him or us.
In response to my decision, I still feel it is not a good idea to throw someone overboard. To do that one has to have no conscience and this would cause an innocent persons’ demise because he surely would not survive in the water at that weight, and most certainly would die.
Is there ever a time when a good end justifies any means used to attain it. If so, when? If not, why not? I can’t specifically say that it is justified, but I’m thinking of the war and the fact that soldiers have a job to perform. They go out every day and kill innocent people. But it’s either them or the innocents. Morally, I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying in the war it’s all about survival. If our soldiers have to bomb a village in order to capture enemies, then unfortunately some civilians will be killed. Even though killing an innocent is not moral or ethical, in the ends our soldier’s lives will be saved. Scenario: The soldiers have captured enemies that are aware of dangerous weapons that could cause mass destruction and devastation to the United States. The only way we can get the information is to torture them (cause bodily harm) but in the interim, we would be able to find the weapons, destroy them and save thousands of Americans. Another situation that comes to mind is if we are not to commit murder, why do we put mass murders to death? Why not put them in solitary confinement for the rest of their lives and make them suffer. That is why I do...