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Fall Term Essay 2

1466 words - 6 pages

1Fall Term Essay Question Two:"Do you think that the EDS pilot Barton did to Marilyn what he ought to have done - given the situation? Do you think that Narveson is able to morally justify his position with regard to what becomes of Marilyn using the principle of utility? What changes does Narveson make to Godwin's story "Cold Equations" to help convince you of the merits of his ethical position? Are they successful? What changes to Godwin's story would you make before you could reasonably argue that Marilyn's life should in fact be spared by the EDS pilot? Justify"Seanna ThompsonStudent ID: 5159298PHIL 1F90Seminar 20Turnitin Paper ID: 365445620The story, "The Cold Equations", written by Tom Godwin may cause one to question and examine the idea of human rights along with the exceptions that may follow. "The Cold Equations" takes place in a futuristic setting where an EDS pilot referred to as Barton is travelling through the galaxy. This mission is an attempt to bring life saving medical supplies to six ill men on time who will otherwise die a painful death. During this trip Barton becomes aware of another body on board the ship and upon further investigation he discovers it is a young teenage girl by the name of Marilyn. She was hiding in the supply closet in hopes of reaching her older brother who is on Woden; the same planet as the ill men. Unfortunately, the ship they are on only has enough fuel to carry just the weight of itself and the pilot to Woden and land safely. Therefore, it is law that any stowaway in an Emergency Dispatch Ship must be jettisoned in order to avoid compromising a mission. Any difference in weight such as an extra body will cause the ship to burn too much fuel and eventually crash and kill both the pilot and Marilyn. Usually this law applies to stowaways with bad intentions or illegal purposes but since this one is an innocent girl, human and moral rights are brought into question. Should the law still be applied despite the girl's ignorance and innocence in order to help the greater good? Jan Narveson discusses this in a commentary about Godwin's story as well as multiple variations of what could have happened. Given the situation the pilot did the right thing, as there were no other options for him. This decision was morally just despite attempts at changing the story; however, in order to spare the girl the pilot would need to sacrifice himself.Laws are often considered to be black and white as there are right and wrong options in every day decisions that are made based on this. However, there are grey areas, which are highlighted in this story. Once Marilyn is discovered two options become clear to Barton: he can either proceed as he is expected and sacrifice the girl, or he can keep her inside the ship where they will both meet their deaths, perhaps within a few hours or days. Barton eventually helps Marilyn to see that her sacrifice truly is the right thing to do and she allows herself to be jettisoned from the...

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