Moral Dilemmas

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Moral Dilemmas

Postby C » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:32 pm

WARNING: Some of these are a little sensitive... feel free to remove this topic if you wish but I intend only to create a fun debate, not to offend.

Here's a list of moral dilemmas for you to reply to, if you wish. I will post my personal replies later:

1. Heinz's dilemma - A woman is near death from a rare form of cancer. There is one drug that will save her, that's been developed by a druggist in the town. The woman's husband, Heinz, goes to the druggist and offers to pay him for the drug, but he doesn't have enough money. The man explains that the drug is for his wife who's dying but the druggist refuses to give him the drug. That night, the man breaks into the druggists store and steals the drug.

a. Was Heinz right to do this? Why
b. Is it morally acceptable for Heinz to do this? Why?
c. Percy, a police officer and close friend of Heinz discovers what Heinz has done. Should Percy confess to the police what his friend has done? Why?
d. What if Heinz does not love his wife? Does this change your answer to a. and/or b? Why?
e. What if the person dying was a stranger Heinz happened to know was dying? Does this change your answer? Why?
f. How about if the 'person' dying was an animal? Does this change your answer? Why?

2. You are an inmate in a concentration camp. A sadistic guard is about to hang your son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. He says that if you don’t he will not only kill your son but some other innocent inmate as well. You don’t have any doubt that he means what he says. What should you do?

3. You are the parent of an eight-year-old daughter who has been raped. You feel certain the person who raped her is your neighbour, although your daughter is so traumatised by the attack she has stopped speaking. Not enough evidence has been found to convict your neighbour. One evening, you see your neighbour eating at a restaurant. He is alone and looks unhappy. The next day, you discover your neighbours wife has been murdered. Soon, you hear that your neighbour is going to jail for killing her. At first you are thrilled but then you remember you saw him at the restaurant at the time she was killed and so know that he did not murder his wife, although he may have paid someone else to do it.
a. Do you give him an alibi?
b. What if you discover that the day after prison his wife's sister was also murdered. You think it may be the same person and therefore a murderer is still at large? Knowing you will get in no trouble for not telling earlier, do you give him an alibi now and why?

4. Your best friend confesses to you that they have commited a crime and you promise not to tell. When you discover someone else has been sent to prison for the crime your friend committed you beg your friend to hand themselves in but they refuse.
a. Do you tell the police it was your friend who committed your crime?
b. What if it was a family member instead, say your child or your parent? Does this change your answer and, if so, why?

5. You are a university doctor invited to the house of a wide renowned academic who has been working on the cure for cancer for several years. He invites you along for a meeting, saying he's certain that he has now developed a vaccine that will kill cancer. You bring your mother with you for this very important meeting. While you are there, the professor is in one room, gathering together some documents to show you and your mother is in another room, finishing her cup of tea. You don't know how, but a fire has started and you know that you can only enter one room and save one person.
a. Who do you save? Why?
b. What if you had concrete evidence that this man definitely had the cure for cancer. Who do you save now?
c. Who is it morally right to save? Is this different to who you'd actually save?
d. Who is it more important to save - a bottle with the cure for cancer or a family member?

6. A madman who has threatened to explode several bombs in crowded areas has been apprehended. Unfortunately, he has already planted the bombs and they are scheduled to go off in a short time. It is possible that hundreds of people may die. The authorities cannot make him divulge the location of the bombs by conventional methods. He refuses to say anything and requests a lawyer to protect his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. In exasperation, some high level official suggests torture. This would be illegal, of course, but the official thinks that it is nevertheless the right thing to do in this desperate situation.
a. Do you agree?
b. Is it also morally justifiable to torture the mad bomber’s wife if that is the only way to make him talk? Why?
c. Is it morally justifiable to torture someone you know for sure is innocent if you believe doing so may save the lives of hundreds of people? Why?
d. Is it morally justifiable to kill the mad bomber if you believe doing so may save the lives of hundreds of people? Why?
e. Is it morally justifiable to kill someone completely innocent if you believe doing so may save the lives of hundreds of people? Why?
f. Is it morally justifiable to kill someone completely innocent if you know doing so will save the lives of hundreds of people?
g. How about if the 'hundreds of people' in f. are criminals? Does that change your answer?

7. It's the holocaust and a group of people are hiding from the Nazi's, including a baby. The baby starts to wail and it soon becomes clear that the whole group will be found and killed should the baby continue. Is it morally acceptable to strangle the baby to death?

8. The Trolley Problem - You see a trolley running out of control on a track. In it's path are five people. Fortunately you can flip a switch that will divert the trolley in a different direction to the five people. Unfortunately, there is one person in this direction.
a. Do you flip the switch and save five but kill one?
b. Is it morally acceptable to flip the switch in b.?
c. How about if you are on a bridge where the trolley will pass and you can stop it by throwing a heavy weight on it. You see a very fat man next to you - do you push him over the bridge, killing one to save five?
d. Is it morally acceptable to flip the switch in a.?
e. Now a slightly different scenerio - you're a doctor and you know five people are dying from a terminal heart condition. You see a healthy patient who, should they die, their heart could be used to save these five people. Knowing you will never be discovered, do you murder the patient, killing one to save five? If your answer to this was different to the others, then why?
C
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Re: Moral Dilemmas

Postby k9ruby » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:15 pm

Nice topic! I will give this a go :)

1. Heinz's dilemma - A woman is near death from a rare form of cancer. There is one drug that will save her, that's been developed by a druggist in the town. The woman's husband, Heinz, goes to the druggist and offers to pay him for the drug, but he doesn't have enough money. The man explains that the drug is for his wife who's dying but the druggist refuses to give him the drug. That night, the man breaks into the druggists store and steals the drug.

a. Was Heinz right to do this? Why
b. Is it morally acceptable for Heinz to do this? Why?
c. Percy, a police officer and close friend of Heinz discovers what Heinz has done. Should Percy confess to the police what his friend has done? Why?
d. What if Heinz does not love his wife? Does this change your answer to a. and/or b? Why?
e. What if the person dying was a stranger Heinz happened to know was dying? Does this change your answer? Why?
f. How about if the 'person' dying was an animal? Does this change your answer? Why?


A) Technically, yes Heinz was wrong to do this. However, since Hienz has some common sense, and wants to help his wife and save her (assuming she wants to be saved, which is another kettle of fish), I would say that his actions were morally right, and he was acting in his wifes best interests (assuming the drug would of been reccomended by her specialist) as to stop her from suffering.

B) Yes.

C) Yes, it would probably work in Heinz's favour, and the courts would most lilkely accept it is an exceptional case and may offer reduced sentences/withdraw charges altogether, assuming that the expert wittness also agreed that the drug would be of benefit to the wife.

D) Heinz can not love, but that does not prevent him from knowing that he could end someones suffering. And vice versa.

F) If it was an animal, I would ask whether the likes of the PDSA and RSPCA are acting in Hienzes best interests and their moral state of mind, and if a vet agreed the drug would help, why not. I would also question the vets values as well. I know a lot of people will disagree with me... :P

I will answer the rest later!
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Re: Moral Dilemmas

Postby C » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:32 pm

thanks for your reply :D
...
anyone else care to respond, before I give my answers?
C
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