The episode presented in this case study give rise to Moral Sense Test directed to analyzing human moral judgments.
The issue of saving a large woman to save 22 tourists behind her, driving a boat faster to save life of five people from drowning and at the same time letting one person to fall of and drown, failure to give a drug to a terminally ill person in knowledge that he may die without it and his organs may be used to safe some other three persons, and suffocating your baby with aim of averting an enemy from finding both of you and kill and other eight hiding with you presents a moral dilemma situation directed towards scrutinizing psychological mechanism basic to social moral judgment.
Situation leading to moral dilemma has been capturing human attention towards how people judge certain affairs, deciding on justified and unjustified situations as well as social views on right and wrong action. Debate on moral decision has been has been a contentious issue with philosophers speculating how people have been making moral decision in the society. Scenarios presented by this paper give a situation which has for long been pondered by philosophers as well other professional on whether to sacrifice one for a greater good.
Utilitarian ethical theory support option of sacrificing one to protect many. Many societies seems to value the utilitarian option but there is a considerable emotional element given that verdict involves harming a human being. Any of decision made on these scenarios results to a moral tug of war between whether to kill one person as in the case of killing huge woman to save 22 tourist, sacrificing one person to save five from drowning, sacrifice on ill person to save three and sacrificing a child to save you and others with sympathy of killing a human being. Moral theories
Egoism as an ethical theory entails individual’s self is the motivation and the goal of individual’s own accomplishment. Egoism has two folds i. e. descriptive and normative. Descriptive also called positive variant, define egoism as explanation of human affairs meaning individuals are motivated by self interest and desires while normative ethics elaborates that people should be motivated. Ethical egoism an individual have no duty anyone but to him/herself. Meaning that, every person should strive satisfy his or her individual interests maximizing own welfare. According to egoism, each individual has a goal of his own…This diversity of goals may endanger conflict. This is not an objection to ethical egoism, however.
When people have goals in conflict, each individual ought, according to egoism, to maintain his or her goal. Ethical egoism is a consistent ethical theory, in competition with other ethical theories,” (Tannsjo 2002 pp 42). From the above quote we can say that according to egoism theory you act wrongly when if you do not strive to maximize your interest. Maximizing of interest means that an individual can go to an extent of doing harm in order to protect his/her interests.
The egoist is prepared to kill, not only in order to save many lives but in order to save his or her own life. Therefore, in the scenarios presented in our case study when considering egoism ethical theory means that when doing any act you should consider your interests. For example an egoist would consider saving digging a woman and making 22 tourists to perish and sacrificing woman life to save tourist will depend on different interests according to egoism theory. That is can sacrifice the whole group or to save large woman according to whom we have interest in and vice-versa.
Being a subject of Moral Sense Test based on egoism moral theory I would drown person in the falling from the boat to save other five based on my interests. If I am more affiliated to the falling person, according to egoism I would let five to perish and save the one I have interest in. In case my interest is more to the five people I would work to save them making the falling person to die. In the case where am to suffocate my screaming my screaming baby to save myself and other eight hiding with me would be a better option considering egoism theory.
This is due to individual interest of living taking more priority than that of the baby hence saving other eight people. Faced with scenario of sacrificing failing to give drug to a terminally ill patient knowing that he will die but his organs could be used to save other three patient considering egoism theory would mean to fall the self interest in this scenario. Saving three persons to the expense of sacrificing one terminally ill patient means that my interest for example if patient is my relative.
On the other hand if I have more interest to a more terminally ill patient I would not fail to give drug making other three to die according to egoism theory of maximizing of interests. Conventional morality can be described as a morality of established local practice or a part of morality that directs people day to day life. “Conventional morality defines responsibilities, gives direction to action, helps to organize social life. It establishes expectations and thereby give guidance for personal development” (DeMarco 1994 pp. 24).
This means that it is a fixed pattern of individual or a professional governing a particular role, giving boundaries of action, dependencies as well as patterns of authority. That is society or individuals have moral responsibility based on conventions and violations of conventions mean individual actions are immoral. In the three scenarios presented in case study in this context conventional morality theory would looking at different laid down standard in trying to save different dilemmas. Incase of saving a five from drowning to the expense of saving the one falling and vise versa would depend on morals raid down.
If my society moral dictates that saving many would be the most moral, according to conventional morality I would strive to save the five and let the falling person to die even if it is my relative since these are set convention and must be followed. In case it is refusing to give terminally ill patient drug making his to die and use his organ to save the three will depend on convention set by the hospital and act according to them. Suffocating my baby so that I can save myself and other eight persons from attacks of an enemy would depend on set societal convention which may favor suffocating my baby or letting all to die all together.
For example if conventions dictates that I should strive to save many, suffocating of my baby may be an option and this would be morally upright according to conventional theory of morality. Moral dilemmas have presented various arguments making some of philosophers to argue that “…doing the right is whatever produce the greatest balance over evil…This view has been called ‘utilitarianism’ or ‘consequentialism. ’ ‘Utilitarianism’ tends to be associated with the view that ‘good’ means a balance of pleasure over pain…or perhaps some more sophisticated ‘happiness’…” (Hallquist, 2008 para. 5).
According to Hallquist (2008), when applying utilitarianism theory of morality to moral dilemma where you have an option of killing one person to save many, an individual is requires to kill one and save many. This situation presents a greater evil or prevents a greater evil according to Utilitarianism theory of morality. There have been options when you can consider killing many and save one for example if killing the five would prevent a deadly riot would allow for saving one person instead. According to utilitarianism, killing someone harvest organ to save the five individuals would be a better evil.
This means that the case presented in the case study in the context of this paper about refusing to give drug to terminally ill patient letting him to die and using his organ to heal other persons would be a better choice according to utilitarianism. Letting the falling person to die and save and saving five droning persons would be the better evil instead of saving one and letting five to die. Suffocating a my screaming baby according to utilitarianism theory of morality would be a better evil than letting myself and eight people accompanying me to die.
Theory of duty ethics also called deontological morality theory view morality through probing the nature of actions and will of agents instead of results achieved i. e. looking at input instead of the outcomes. Incase of killing one person to save many for example a situation where the doctor would sacrifice life of one person and use his organ to save five, duty of ethics opposes this. “…the agent should not kill the one person because if he does that he will produce worse state of affairs, as seen from his position.
That he should not kill is the result that deontologist endorse as well” (Kamm 1993 pp. 5). According to duty ethic correctness of an accomplishment is not simply reliant on exploiting the good, if that accomplishment goes in opposition to what is consider moral. This means that the scenarios where am require not to give drug and to let terminally ill person to die and save three from his organ would be immoral from duty ethics. This is because by refusing to give drug is immoral no matter the good it can contribute of saving three persons. Letting the falling from the boat to save the five persons from drowning is immoral according to duty of ethics.
On the issue of suffocating my baby it may be immoral to do that because in the first place is illegal to do that hence letting the worst to strike. Virtue of ethics emphasizes that; morality should be guided by character rather than established rules or procedures. This theory is greatly dependent on wisdom to direct an individual to do what he/she feel is moral. Virtue of ethics encompasses trait like honesty and generosity in performance of a moral duty. In the case of moral dilemma of killing on person to save many will be judged from what the person in this situation feel is morally upright.
Moral principles The above analysis of the moral theory do not give define solution and are inadequate when giving solution to various situations for example moral dilemma episodes. Seven moral principles give an alternative in trying to get solution on moral decision. Moral principles define the right and wrong accepted an individual or a society to a certain situation or are universal rules that guide an individuals or a society on what to do. That is, they are standard for good behavior in the society.
Moral decision making process is the process in which an individual tries to implement a balance of the seven moral principles in a given situation. The seven moral principles are; Respect, Non-Malevolence, Benevolence, Integrity, Justice, Utility and Double Effect. The lists of moral principle incorporate many cultures to serve purpose of morality. According to the principles of morality a moral action should be guide by the application of the most appropriate principle(s). Principle of respect calls for treating everybody with respect together with application of dignity and importance of a person(s) not matter the diversity.
Non-malevolence principle calls for avoiding harming people or even causing pain to them. Benevolence principle tries to promote well-being of others. That is it emphasize on responding in the needs of other. This should be consistent to promoting spiritual and cultural belief and values. Principle of integrity advocates for maintaining personal standards for example in the professional environment. In application to the episode of killing one to save many, moral principle provides with a range choice in coming with appropriate action.
Conclusion Application of moral theory and moral principles should be directed by the intention of being morally upright in the social operation. There intention is to guide person and society at large to have a common way of handling their affairs for common good. Moral theories and principles are motivated greatly by the social need toward an upright society. Social life presents different circumstances in life and hence many moral theories and principle geared toward giving moral solution to different social circumstances.