Ethical Puzzle: Punishment for Punishment’s Sake
July 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm #17423
Here is the situation. You are trapped on an islands with only two other people. One man was a remorseless child-raping murderer, and the other was a charity worker. However, they have both fallen ill, and the best thing either can expect is to be euthanized before the illness progresses further. Furthermore, the illness is so paralyzing that the terrible man is rendered totally innocuous. Finally, no matter how you choose to treat them, you’re final plan is to burn the carcass of the terrible man. Back at civilization, you will tell everyone you burned him alive because that’s just what a person gets for being a child-raping murderer.
Yet, at the moment, you must decide who to give this delicious apple. You’re allergic, so the apple will kill you. The charitable man never really liked apples, but they’re a bit hungry. The terrible man is also hungry, but he is a known apple lover, always going out of his way to get more delicious apples.
Here are some options for you. If at least one of these options seem justifiable, try to articulate that justification.
1. Give it to whomever will derive more benefit (i.e. the terrible man).
2. Split the apple.
3. Give it to the charitable person.
Killing Process for the Terrible Man:
a. Let him live 1-2 more days.
b. Euthanize him immediately.
c. Ridicule him, then euthanize him.
d. Ridicule him, and burn him alive.
July 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm #114077animartcoParticipant
Ethics or common sense? If both patients are hungry you split the apple. This is both the ethical and common sense solution. On when to euthanize, unless they are in terrible pain I would say the ethical thing is to let them die naturally. As for telling the people back home that you burned someone alive when you hadn’t, that is something you would only do if you were riddled with guilt
July 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm #114088quote animartco:
What is your justification?quote :
They will be in terrible pain if you do not euthanize before that point.
What is your justification?quote :
The lie is meant to discourage such abominable behavior in the future. Whether he is actually burned alive is a separate issue.
Personally, I fail to justify burning him alive because that wouldn’t promote those mental states that we intuitively ‘like’. Physical pain is something that we intuitively ‘dislike’.
Furthermore, I know they’re both going to die anyway, so I think the most justifiable action is to give the terrible man the apple. I would save the good person if I could save either, but that’s not the situation.
If you want to split the apple, you could argue for some sort of marginal utility of pleasure, arguing that each bite of the apple is less satisfying than the last. However, that’ not really the matter I wanted to discuss.
August 12, 2013 at 10:45 am #114172animartcoParticipantquote wildfunguy:
Saying you burnt someone alive is certainly NOT going to make anyone less likely to do it themselves. All evidence for the promotion of fictional violence suggests that it engenders violence
September 8, 2013 at 12:15 am #114331quote animartco:
No, I’m trying to make people more hesitant about raping and murdering children.
I wouldn’t want to encourage the burning of people alive, but I guess I might accidentally encourage it by talking about doing it. Nice point.
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