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This is a course about "Justice"
and we begin with a story.
Suppose you're the driver of a trolley car,
and your trolley car is hurtling down the track
at 60 miles an hour. And at the end of the track
you notice five workers working on the track.
You try to stop but you can't,
your brakes don't work.
You feel desperate because you know
that if you crash into these five workers,
they will all die.
Let's assume you know that for sure.
And so you feel helpless until you notice
that there is, off to the right,
a side track and at the end of that track,
there is one worker working on the track.
Your steering wheel works, so you can turn the trolley car,
if you want to, onto the side track
killing the one but sparing the five.
Here's our first question: what's the right thing to do?
What would you do? Let's take a poll.
How many would turn the trolley car
onto the side track? Raise your hands.
How many wouldn't? How many would go straight ahead?
Keep your hands up those of you who would go straight ahead.
A handful of people would,
the vast majority would turn.
Let's hear first, now we need to begin
to investigate the reasons why you think
it's the right thing to do.
Let's begin with those in the majority who would turn to go
onto the side track. Why would you do it?
What would be your reason? Who's willing to volunteer a reason?
Go ahead. Stand up.
Because it can't be right to kill five people
when you can only kill one person instead.
It wouldn't be right to kill five if you could kill
one person instead. That's a good reason.
That's a good reason. Who else?
Does everybody agree with that reason? Go ahead.
Well I was thinking it's the same reason on 9/11 with regard
to the people who flew the plane into the Pennsylvania field
as heroes because they chose to kill the people on the plane
and not kill more people in big buildings.
So the principle there was the same on 9/11.
It's a tragic circumstance but better to kill one
so that five can live.
Is that the reason most of you had,
those of you who would turn? Yes?
Let's hear now from those in the minority,
those who wouldn't turn. Yes.
Well, I think that's the same type of mentality
that justifies genocide and totalitarianism.
In order to save one type of race,
you wipe out the other.
So what would you do in this case?
You would, to avoid the horrors of genocide,
you would crash into the five and kill them?
- You would? - Yeah.
Okay. Who else? That's a brave answer.
Let's consider another trolley car case
and see whether those of you in the majority
want to adhere to the principle
"better that one should die so that five should live."
This time you're not the driver of the trolley car,
you're an onlooker. You're standing on a bridge
overlooking a trolley car track.
And down the track comes a trolley car,
at the end of the track are five workers,
the brakes don't work, the trolley car
is about to careen into the five and kill them.
And now, you're not the driver, you really feel helpless
until you notice standing next to you,
leaning over the bridge is a very fat man.
And you could give him a shove.
He would fall over the bridge onto the track right in the way
of the trolley car. He would die
but he would spare the five.
Now, how many would push the fat man over the bridge?
Raise your hand.
How many wouldn't?
Most people wouldn't. Here's the obvious question.
What became of the principle "better to save five lives
even if it means sacrificing one?"
What became of the principle that almost everyone endorsed
in the first case? I need to hear from someone
who was in the majority in both cases.
How do you explain the difference between the two? Yes.
The second one, I guess, involves an active choice
of pushing a person down which I guess that person himself
would otherwise not have been involved in the situation at all.
And so to choose on his behalf, I guess, to involve him
in something that he otherwise would have escaped is,
I guess, more than what you have in the first case
where the three parties, the driver and the two sets of workers,
are already, I guess, in the situation.
But the guy working, the one on the track
off to the side, he didn't choose
to sacrifice his life any more than the fat man did, did he?
That's true, but he was on the tracks and...
This guy was on the bridge.
Go ahead, you can come back if you want. All right.
It's a hard question. You did well. You did very well.
It's a hard question.
Who else can find a way of reconciling the reaction
of the majority in these two cases? Yes.
Well, I guess in the first case where you have the one worker
and the five, it's a choice between those two
and you have to make a certain choice and people
are going to die because of the trolley car,
not necessarily because of your direct actions.
The trolley car is a runaway thing and you're making a split second choice.
Whereas pushing the fat man over is an actual act
of murder on your part.
You have control over that whereas you may not have control
over the trolley car.
So I think it's a slightly different situation.
All right, who has a reply? That's good. Who has a way?
Who wants to reply? Is that a way out of this?
I don't think that's a very good reason
because you choose to... either way you have to choose
who dies because you either choose to turn and kill the person,
which is an act of conscious thought to turn,
or you choose to push the fat man over
which is also an active, conscious action.
So either way, you're making a choice.
Do you want to reply?
I'm not really sure that that's the case.
It just still seems kind of different.
The act of actually pushing someone over onto the tracks
and killing him, you are actually killing him yourself.
You're pushing him with your own hands.
You're pushing him and that's different
than steering something that is going to cause
death into another...
You know, it doesn't really sound right saying it now.
No, no. It's good. It's good. What's your name?
Andrew. Let me ask you this question, Andrew.
Suppose standing on the bridge next to the fat man,
I didn't have to push him, suppose he was standing over
a trap door that I could open by turning a steering wheel like that.
Would you turn?
For some reason, that still just seems more wrong.
I mean, maybe if you accidentally like leaned into the steering wheel
or something like that.
But... Or say that the car is hurtling
towards a switch that will drop the trap.
Then I could agree with that.
That's all right. Fair enough.
It still seems wrong in a way that it doesn't seem wrong
in the first case to turn, you say.
And in another way, I mean, in the first situation
you're involved directly with the situation.
In the second one, you're an onlooker as well.
- All right. - So you have the choice of becoming involved or not
by pushing the fat man.
All right. Let's forget for the moment about this case.
That's good. Let's imagine a different case.
This time you're a doctor in an emergency room
and six patients come to you.
They've been in a terrible trolley car wreck.
Five of them sustain moderate injuries,
one is severely injured, you could spend all day
caring for the one severely injured victim.
But in that time, the five would die.
Or you could look after the five, restore them to health
but during that time, the one severely injured person
How many would save the five? Now as the doctor,
how many would save the one?
Very few people, just a handful of people.
Same reason, I assume. One life versus five?
Now consider another doctor case.
This time, you're a transplant surgeon and you have five patients,
each in desperate need of an organ transplant
in order to survive.
One needs a heart, one a lung, one a kidney,
one a liver, and the fifth a pancreas.
And you have no organ donors. You are about to see them die.
And then it occurs to you that in the next room
there's a healthy guy who came in for a check-up.
And he's – you like that – and he's taking a nap,
you could go in very quietly, yank out the five organs,
that person would die, but you could save the five.
How many would do it? Anyone? How many?
Put your hands up if you would do it.
Anyone in the balcony?
You would? Be careful, don't lean over too much.
How many wouldn't? All right. What do you say?
Speak up in the balcony,
you who would yank out the organs. Why?
I'd actually like to explore a slightly alternate possibility
of just taking the one of the five who needs an organ
who dies first and using their four healthy organs
to save the other four.
That's a pretty good idea. That's a great idea
except for the fact that you just wrecked
the philosophical point.
Let's step back from these stories and these arguments
to notice a couple of things about the way the arguments
have begun to unfold.
Certain moral principles have already begun to emerge
from the discussions we've had.
And let's consider what those moral principles look like.
The first moral principle that emerged in the discussion
said the right thing to do, the moral thing to do
depends on the consequences that will result from your action.
At the end of the day, better that five should live
even if one must die.
That's an example of consequentialist moral reasoning.
Consequentialist moral reasoning locates morality
in the consequences of an act, in the state of the world
that will result from the thing you do.
But then we went a little further, we considered those other cases
and people weren't so sure about consequentialist moral reasoning.
When people hesitated
to push the fat man over the bridge
or to yank out the organs of the innocent patient,
people gestured toward reasons having to do with
the intrinsic quality of the act itself,
consequences be what they may. People were reluctant.
People thought it was just wrong, categorically wrong,
to kill a person, an innocent person,
even for the sake of saving five lives.
At least people thought that in the second version
of each story we considered.
So this points to a second categorical way of thinking about moral reasoning.
Categorical moral reasoning locates morality
in certain absolute moral requirements,
certain categorical duties and rights, regardless of the consequences.
We're going to explore in the days and weeks to come
the contrast between consequentialist and categorical
The most influential example of consequential moral reasoning
is utilitarianism, a doctrine invented
by Jeremy Bentham, the 18th century
English political philosopher.
The most important philosopher of categorical moral reasoning
is the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
So we will look at those two different modes
of moral reasoning, assess them,
and also consider others.
If you look at the syllabus, you'll notice that we read
a number of great and famous books,
books by Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stewart Mill,
You'll notice too from the syllabus
that we don't only read these books
we also take up contemporary political, and legal controversies
that raise philosophical questions. We will debate equality and inequality,
affirmative action, free speech versus hate speech, same sex marriage,
military conscription, a range of practical questions. Why?
Not just to enliven these abstract and distant books
but to make clear, to bring out what's at stake
in our everyday lives, including our political lives,
And so we will read these books and we will debate these issues,
and we'll see how each informs and illuminates the other.
This may sound appealing enough, but here I have to issue a warning.
And the warning is this, to read these books
in this way as an exercise in self knowledge,
to read them in this way carries certain risks,
risks that are both personal and political,
risks that every student of political philosophy has known.
These risks spring from the fact that philosophy teaches us
and unsettles us by confronting us with
what we already know.
There's an irony. The difficulty of this course consists in the fact
that it teaches what you already know.
It works by taking what we know from familiar unquestioned settings
and making it strange.
That's how those examples worked, the hypotheticals with which we began,
with their mix of playfulness and sobriety.
It's also how these philosophical books work.
Philosophy estranges us from the familiar,
not by supplying new information but by inviting and provoking
a new way of seeing but, and here's the risk,
once the familiar turns strange, it's never quite the same again.
Self knowledge is like lost innocence, however unsettling you find it
it can never be un-thought or un-known.
What makes this enterprise difficult but also riveting
is that moral and political philosophy is a story and you don't know
where the story will lead.
But what you do know is that the story is about you.
Those are the personal risks. Now what of the political risks?
One way of introducing a course like this would be to promise you
that by reading these books and debating these issues,
you will become a better, more responsible citizen
you will examine the presuppositions of public policy,
you will hone your political judgment,
you will become a more effective participant in public affairs.
But this would be a partial and misleading promise.
Political philosophy, for the most part,
hasn't worked that way.
You have to allow for the possibility that political philosophy
may make you a worse citizen rather than a better one
or at least a worse citizen before it makes you a better one,
and that's because philosophy is a distancing,
even debilitating activity.
And you see this going back to Socrates, there's a dialogue,
the Gorgias, in which one of Socrates' friends, Callicles,
tries to talk him out of philosophizing.
Callicles tells Socrates "Philosophy is a pretty toy
if one indulges in it with moderation
at the right time of life. But if one pursues it further than one should,
it is absolute ruin."
"Take my advice," Callicles says, "abandon argument.
Learn the accomplishments of active life,
take for your models not those people who spend
their time on these petty quibbles but those who have a good livelihood
and reputation and many other blessings."
So Callicles is really saying to Socrates "Quit philosophizing, get real,
go to business school."
And Callicles did have a point. He had a point because philosophy
distances us from conventions, from established assumptions,
and from settled beliefs.
Those are the risks, personal and political.
And in the face of these risks,
there is a characteristic evasion.
The name of the evasion is skepticism, it's the idea...
well, it goes something like this... we didn't resolve once and for all
either the cases or the principles we were arguing when we began
and if Aristotle and Locke and Kant and Mill
haven't solved these questions after all of these years,
who are we to think, that we here in Sanders Theatre,
over the course of a semester, can resolve them?
And so, maybe it's just a matter of each person having his or her own
principles and there's nothing more to be said about it,
no way of reasoning.
That's the evasion, the evasion of skepticism,
to which I would offer the following reply.
It's true, these questions have been debated for a very long time
but the very fact that they have recurred and persisted
may suggest that though they're impossible in one sense,
they're unavoidable in another.
And the reason they're unavoidable, the reason they're inescapable
is that we live some answer to these questions every day.
So skepticism, just throwing up your hands and giving up on moral reflection
is no solution.
Immanuel Kant described very well the problem with skepticism
when he wrote "Skepticism is a resting place
for human reason, where it can reflect upon
its dogmatic wanderings, but it is no dwelling place
for permanent settlement."
"Simply to acquiesce in skepticism," Kant wrote,
"can never suffice to overcome the restlessness of reason."
I've tried to suggest through these stories
and these arguments some sense of the risks
and temptations, of the perils and the possibilities.
I would simply conclude by saying that the aim of this course
is to awaken the restlessness of reason and to see where it might lead.
Thank you very much.
Like, in a situation that desperate, you have to do what you have to do to survive.
You have to do what you have to do?
Yeah. You got to do what you got to do, pretty much.
If you've been going 19 days without any food, you know,
someone just has to take the sacrifice.
Someone has to make the sacrifice and people can survive.
Alright, that's good. What's your name?
- Marcus. - Marcus, what do you say to Marcus?
Last time, we started out last time
with some stories, with some moral dilemmas
about trolley cars and about doctors
and healthy patients vulnerable to being victims
of organ transplantation.
We noticed two things about the arguments we had,
one had to do with the way we were arguing.
We began with our judgments in particular cases.
We tried to articulate the reasons or the principles lying behind
And then confronted with a new case,
we found ourselves reexamining those principles,
revising each in the light of the other.
And we noticed the built in pressure
to try to bring into alignment our judgments
about particular cases and the principles
we would endorse on reflection.
We also noticed something about the substance
of the arguments that emerged from the discussion.
We noticed that sometimes we were tempted to locate
the morality of an act in the consequences, in the results,
in the state of the world that it brought about.
And we called this consequentialist moral reasoning.
But we also noticed that in some cases,
we weren't swayed only by the result.
Sometimes, many of us felt, that not just consequences
but also the intrinsic quality or character
of the act matters morally.
Some people argued that there are certain things
that are just categorically wrong even if they bring about
a good result, even if they saved five people
at the cost of one life.
So we contrasted consequentialist moral principles with categorical ones.
Today and in the next few days, we will begin to examine
one of the most influential versions of consequentialist moral theory.
And that's the philosophy of utilitarianism.
Jeremy Bentham, the 18th century
English political philosopher gave first the first clear
systematic expression to the utilitarian moral theory.
And Bentham's idea, his essential idea,
is a very simple one.
With a lot of morally intuitive appeal,
Bentham's idea is the following,
the right thing to do, the just thing to do
is to maximize utility.
What did he mean by utility?
He meant by utility the balance of pleasure over pain,
happiness over suffering.
Here's how he arrived at the principle of maximizing utility.
He started out by observing that all of us,
all human beings are governed by two sovereign masters,
pain and pleasure.
We human beings like pleasure and dislike pain.
And so we should base morality, whether we're thinking about
what to do in our own lives or whether as legislators or citizens,
we're thinking about what the laws should be.
The right thing to do individually or collectively is to maximize,
act in a way that maximizes the overall level of happiness.
Bentham's utilitarianism is sometimes summed up
with the slogan
"The greatest good for the greatest number."
With this basic principle of utility on hand,
let's begin to test it and to examine it
by turning to another case, another story, but this time,
not a hypothetical story, a real life story,
the case of the Queen versus Dudley and Stevens.
This was a 19th century British law case
that's famous and much debated in law schools.
Here's what happened in the case. I'll summarize the story
then I want to hear how you would rule,
imagining that you were the jury.
A newspaper account of the time described the background.
A sadder story of disaster at sea was never told
than that of the survivors of the yacht, Mignonette.
The ship floundered in the South Atlantic,
1300 miles from the Cape.
There were four in the crew, Dudley was the captain,
Stevens was the first mate, Brooks was a sailor,
all men of excellent character or so the newspaper account tells us.
The fourth crew member was the cabin boy,
Richard Parker, 17 years old.
He was an orphan, he had no family,
and he was on his first long voyage at sea.
He went, the news account tells us,
rather against the advice of his friends.
He went in the hopefulness of youthful ambition,
thinking the journey would make a man of him.
Sadly, it was not to be. The facts of the case
were not in dispute.
A wave hit the ship and the Mignonette went down.
The four crew members escaped to a lifeboat.
The only food they had were two cans of
preserved turnips, no fresh water.
For the first three days, they ate nothing.
On the fourth day, they opened one
of the cans of turnips and ate it.
The next day they caught a turtle.
Together with the other can of turnips,
the turtle enabled them to subsist for the next few days.
And then for eight days, they had nothing.
No food. No water.
Imagine yourself in a situation like that,
what would you do? Here's what they did.
By now the cabin boy, Parker, is lying at the bottom
of the lifeboat in the corner
because he had drunk seawater against the advice of the others
and he had become ill and he appeared to be dying.
So on the 19th day, Dudley, the captain,
suggested that they should all have a lottery,
that they should draw lots to see who would die
to save the rest.
Brooks refused. He didn't like the lottery idea.
We don't know whether this was
because he didn't want to take the chance
or because he believed in categorical moral principles.
But in any case, no lots were drawn.
The next day there was still no ship in sight
so Dudley told Brooks to avert his gaze
and he motioned to Stevens that the boy, Parker,
had better be killed.
Dudley offered a prayer, he told the boy his time had come,
and he killed him with a pen knife,
stabbing him in the jugular vein.
Brooks emerged from his conscientious objection
to share in the gruesome bounty.
For four days, the three of them fed
on the body and blood of the cabin boy.
True story. And then they were rescued.
Dudley describes their rescue in his diary with staggering euphemism.
"On the 24th day, as we were having our breakfast,
a ship appeared at last."
The three survivors were picked up by a German ship.
They were taken back to Falmouth in England
where they were arrested and tried.
Brooks turned state's witness. Dudley and Stevens went to trial.
They didn't dispute the facts. They claimed they had
acted out of necessity, that was their defense.
They argued in effect better that one should die
so that three could survive. The prosecutor wasn't swayed
by that argument.
He said murder is murder, and so the case went to trial.
Now imagine you are the jury. And just to simplify the discussion,
put aside the question of law, let's assume that you as the jury
are charged with deciding whether what they did
was morally permissible or not.
How many would vote 'not guilty',
that what they did was morally permissible?
And how many would vote 'guilty',
what they did was morally wrong?
A pretty sizeable majority.
Now let's see what people's reasons are and let me begin with those
who are in the minority.
Let's hear first from the defense of Dudley and Stevens.
Why would you morally exonerate them?
What are your reasons? Yes.
I think it's... I think it is morally reprehensible
but I think that there is a distinction
between what's morally reprehensible and what makes someone
In other words, as the judge said,
what's always moral isn't necessarily against the law
and while I don't think that necessity justifies theft
or murder or any illegal act, at some point your degree
of necessity does, in fact, exonerate you from any guilt.
Okay. Good. Other defenders. Other voices for the defense.
Moral justifications for what they did. Yes.
Thank you. I just feel like
in the situation that desperate, you have to do
what you have to do to survive.
You have to do what you have to do.
Yeah, you've got to do what you've got to do.
Pretty much. If you've been going
19 days without any food, you know, someone just has to take the sacrifice,
someone has to make the sacrifice and people can survive.
And furthermore from that, let's say they survive
and then they become productive members of society
who go home and start like a million charity organizations
and this and that and this and that.
- I mean they benefited everybody in the end. - Yeah.
So, I mean I don't know what they did afterwards,
they might have gone and like, I don't know,
- killed more people, I don't know. Whatever but. - What?
Maybe they were assassins.
What if they went home and they turned out to be assassins?
What if they'd gone home and turned out to be assassins? Well...
You'd want to know who they assassinated.
That's true too. That's fair. That's fair. I would want to know
who they assassinated.
All right. That's good. What's your name?
- Marcus. - Marcus. All right.
We've heard a defense, a couple of voices
for the defense.
Now we need to hear from the prosecution.
Most people think what they did was wrong. Why?
- Yes. - One of the first things that I was thinking was
they haven't been eating for a really long time
maybe they... they're... they're mentally like affected and so
then that could be used as a defense,
a possible argument that they weren't
in the proper state of mind, they weren't making decisions
they might otherwise be making.
And if that's an appealing argument that... that you have to be
in an altered mindset to do something like that,
it suggests that people who find that argument convincing
do think that they were acting immorally.
But what do you... I want to know
what you think. You defend them.
- No, no, no. - I'm sorry, you vote to convict, right?
Yeah, I don't think that they acted in a morally
And why not? What do you say,
here's Marcus, he just defended them.
He said... you heard what he said.
That you've got to do what you've got to do
- in a case like that. What do you say to Marcus? - Yeah.
That there's no situation that would allow
human beings to take the idea of fate or
the other people's lives in their own hands,
that we don't have that kind of power.
Good. Okay. Thank you.
And what's your name?
- Britt. Okay. Who else? What do you say? Stand up. - Yes.
I'm wondering if Dudley and Stevens had asked Richard Parker's... for Richard Parker's
consent in you know, dying, if that would exonerate them
from... from an act of murder and if so,
is that still morally justifiable?
That's interesting. All right. Consent.
Wait wait, hang on. What's your name?
Kathleen says suppose they had that,
what would that scenario look like?
So in the story Dudley is there, pen knife in hand,
but instead of the prayer or before the prayer,
he says "Parker, would you mind?"
"We're desperately hungry",
as Marcus empathizes with, "we're... we're desperately hungry.
- You're not going to last long anyhow." -Yeah. You can be a martyr.
"Would you be a martyr? How about it Parker?"
Then, then, what do... what do you think? Would it be morally justified then?
- I don't think... - Suppose... suppose Parker in his semi-stupor says "Okay."
I don't think it would be morally justifiable but I'm wondering if...
- Even then, even then it wouldn't be? - No.
You don't think that even with consent
it would be morally justified?
Are there people who think, uh, who want to take up
Kathleen's consent idea and who think that
that would make it morally justified?
Raise your hand if it would, if you think it would.
That's very interesting. Why would consent
make a moral difference? Why would it? Yes.
Well, I just think that if he was making
his own original idea and it was his idea
to start with, then that would be
the only situation in which I would see it
being appropriate in any way because that way
you couldn't make the argument that he was pressured,
you know it's three-to-one or whatever the ratio was.
- Right. - And I think that if he was making a decision
to give his life and he took on the agency
to sacrifice himself which some people
might see as admirable and other people might disagree
with that decision.
So if he came up with the idea,
that's the only kind of consent we could have
confidence in morally then it would be okay.
Otherwise, it would be kind of coerced consent
under the circumstances, you think.
Is there anyone who thinks that even the consent of Parker
would not justify their killing him? Who thinks that? Yes.
Tell us why. Stand up.
I think that Parker would be killed with the hope
that the other crew members would be rescued so there's no
definite reason that he should be killed
because you don't know when they're going to get rescued
so if you kill him, it's killing him in vain,
do you keep killing a crew member until you're rescued
and then you're left with no one because someone's going
to die eventually?
Well, the moral logic of the situation seems to be that,
that they would keep on picking off the weakest maybe,
one by one, until they were rescued.
And in this case, luckily, they were rescued when three at least
were still alive. Now, if Parker did give his consent,
would it be all right, do you think or not?
- No, it still wouldn't be right. - And tell us why
it wouldn't be all right.
First of all, cannibalism, I believe, is morally incorrect
so you shouldn't be eating human anyway.
So cannibalism is morally objectionable as such so then,
even on the scenario of waiting until someone died,
still it would be objectionable.
Yes, to me personally, I feel like it all depends
on one's personal morals and like we can't sit here and just,
like this is just my opinion, of course other people
are going to disagree, but...
Well we'll see, let's see what their disagreements are
and then we'll see if they have reasons that can
persuade you or not.
Let's try that. All right.
Now, is there someone who can explain,
those of you who are tempted by consent,
can you explain why consent makes such
a moral difference?
What about the lottery idea? Does that count as consent?
Remember at the beginning, Dudley proposed a lottery,
suppose that they had agreed to a lottery,
then how many would then say it was all right?
Suppose there were a lottery, cabin boy lost,
and the rest of the story unfolded, then how many people would say
it was morally permissible?
So the numbers are rising if we had a lottery.
Let's hear from one of you for whom the lottery
would make a moral difference. Why would it?
I think the essential element, in my mind,
that makes it a crime is the idea that they decided
at some point that their lives were more important than his,
and that, I mean, that's kind of the basis for really any crime.
Right? It's like my needs, my desires are more important
than yours and mine take precedent.
And if they had done a lottery where everyone consented
that someone should die and it's sort of like they're all
sacrificing themselves to save the rest.
Then it would be all right?
- A little grotesque but... - But morally permissible?
- Yes. - And what's your name?
- Matt. - So Matt, for you,
what bothers you is not the cannibalism
but the lack of due process.
I guess you could say that.
Right? And can someone who agrees with Matt say a little bit more
about why a lottery would make it, in your view, morally permissible.
The way I understood it originally was that
that was the whole issue is that the cabin boy
was never consulted about whether or not
something was going to happen to him,
even with the original lottery whether or not
he would be a part of that, it was just decided
that he was the one that was going to die.
Right, that's what happened in the actual case.
But if there were a lottery and they'd all agreed to the procedure,
you think that would be okay?
Right, because then everyone knows that there's going to be a death,
whereas the cabin boy didn't know that this discussion was even happening,
there was no forewarning for him to know that
"Hey, I may be the one that's dying."
All right. Now, suppose everyone agrees
to the lottery, they have the lottery, the cabin boy loses,
and he changes his mind.
You've already decided, it's like a verbal contract.
You can't go back on that, you've decided,
the decision was made.
If you know that you're dying for the reason of others to live.
If someone else had died, you know that you would
consume them so...
Right. But then you could say, "I know, but I lost".
I just think that that's the whole moral issue
is that there was no consulting of the cabin boy
and that's what makes it the most horrible
is that he had no idea what was even going on.
That had he known what was going on,
it would be a bit more understandable.
All right. Good. Now I want to hear...
so there are some who think it's morally permissible
but only about 20%, led by Marcus.
Then there are some who say the real problem here
is the lack of consent, whether the lack of consent
to a lottery, to a fair procedure or, Kathleen's idea,
lack of consent at the moment of death.
And if we add consent, then more people are willing
to consider the sacrifice morally justified.
I want to hear now, finally, from those of you
who think even with consent, even with a lottery,
even with a final murmur of consent by Parker,
at the very last moment, it would still be wrong.
And why would it be wrong? That's what I want to hear. Yes.
Well, the whole time I've been leaning off towards
the categorical moral reasoning and I think that there's a possibility
I'd be okay with the idea of a lottery
and then the loser taking into their own hands to kill themselves
so there wouldn't be an act of murder,
but I still think that even that way, it's coerced.
Also, I don't think that there is any remorse,
like in Dudley's diary, "We're eating our breakfast,'
it seems as though he's just sort of like, you know,
the whole idea of not valuing someone else's life.
So that makes me feel like I have to take the...
You want to throw the book at him when he lacks remorse
or a sense of having done anything wrong.
So, all right. Good. Are there any other defenders
who say it's just categorically wrong, with or without consent?
Yes. Stand up. Why?
I think undoubtedly the way our society is shaped
murder is murder.
Murder is murder in every way
and our society looks at murder down on the same light
and I don't think it's any different in any case.
Good. Let me ask you a question. There were three lives at stake versus one.
The one, the cabin boy, he had no family,
he had no dependents, these other three had families
back home in England, they had dependents,
they had wives and children. Think back to Bentham.
Bentham says we have to consider
the welfare, the utility, the happiness of everybody.
We have to add it all up so it's not just numbers,
three against one, it's also all of those
people at home.
In fact, the London newspaper at that time and popular opinion
sympathized with them, Dudley and Stevens,
and the paper said if they weren't motivated
by affection and concern for their loved ones at home
and their dependents, surely they wouldn't have done this.
Yeah and how is that any different
from people on a corner trying, with the same desire
to feed their family. I don't think it's any different.
I think in any case, if I'm murdering you
to advance my status, that's murder,
and I think that we should look at all that
in the same light instead of criminalizing
certain activities and making certain things
seem more violently savage when in the same case,
it's all the same, it's all the same act and mentality that goes
into murder, necessity to feed your family so...
Suppose it weren't three, suppose it were 30? 300?
One life to save 300? Or in wartime? 3000?
Suppose the stakes are even bigger.
Suppose the stakes are even bigger?
I think it's still the same deal.
You think Bentham is wrong to say the right thing to do
is to add up the collective happiness?
You think he's wrong about that?
I don't think he's wrong but I think murder is murder
in any case.
Well, then Bentham has to be wrong.
If you're right, he's wrong.
Okay, then he's wrong. I'm right.
All right. Thank you. Well done. All right.
Let's step back from this discussion and notice how many objections
have we heard to what they did?
We heard some defenses of what they did.
The defenses had to do with necessity, their dire circumstance and,
implicitly at least, the idea that numbers matter.
And not only numbers matter but the wider effects matter,
their families back home, their dependents.
Parker was an orphan, no one would miss him.
So if you add up, if you try to calculate the balance
of happiness and suffering, you might have a case
for saying what they did was the right thing.
Then we heard at least three different types of objections.
We heard an objection that said what they did
was categorically wrong, like here at the end,
categorically wrong, murder is murder,
it's always wrong even if it increases the overall
happiness of society, a categorical objection.
But we still need to investigate why murder is categorically wrong.
Is it because even cabin boys have certain fundamental rights?
And if that's the reason, where do those rights come from
if not from some idea of the larger welfare
or utility or happiness?
Question number one. Others said a lottery
would make a difference, a fair procedure Matt said,
and some people were swayed by that.
That's not a categorical objection exactly.
It's saying everybody has to be counted as an equal
even though at the end of the day, one can be sacrificed
for the general welfare.
That leaves us with another question to investigate.
Why does agreement to a certain procedure,
even a fair procedure, justify whatever result flows
from the operation of that procedure?
Question number two. And question number three,
the basic idea of consent. Kathleen got us on to this.
If the cabin boy had agreed himself, and not under duress, as was added,
then it would be all right to take his life to save the rest
and even more people signed on to that idea.
But that raises a third philosophical question:
What is the moral work that consent does?
Why does an act of consent make such a moral difference,
that an act that would be wrong,
taking a life without consent, is morally permissible with consent?
To investigate those three questions, we're going to have to read
And starting next time, we're going to read Bentham
and John Stuart Mill, utilitarian philosophers.
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it's the right thing to do.
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Justice：What's The Right Thing To Do ep-01
Chia Chia Chang
發佈於 2013 年 7 月 13 日
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