Transplant Surgeon Problem 

PHL Assignment

*Total Length: 700-900 words !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Consider the two hypothetical moral dilemmas discussed in class and answer the following questions:

  • A) Trolley Problem
    • A trolley is headed out of control down a track on which five people have been tied
    • You can flip a switch to divert it to a track on which one person is tied
    • You must decide whether to flip the switch.
      • Assume that these are your only two options: pull the switch and one person dies, or do nothing and five people die.
  • B) Transplant Surgeon Problem
    • One healthy man with no family or friends checks into a hospital for routine tests
    • A surgeon could save five other patients by killing the healthy man and harvesting his organs
    • The surgeon must decide whether to kill the healthy man for his organs to save the five patients.
      • Assume that the other 5 patients are basically guaranteed to live (and be healthy) if the healthy man is killed, and that they are basically guaranteed to die otherwise.
      • Assume that these are your only two options: kill the 1 person to save 5, or do nothing and 5 people die

Clearly label the start of each section.

1) What would a Consequentialist claim is the correct choice in each situation? Why (explain the general theory while answering this)? Do you agree?

2) What do you think is the correct choice in each situation? Why?

3) Note that in each scenario, the ratio is saving 5 lives at the cost of 1. Does your answer change if we change the numbers in the scenarios (For example, saving 5 at the cost of 4, or saving 2000 at the cost of 1, etc)? Explain.

4) Based upon your moral reasoning for these situations, what theory do you think you are closest to, Consequentialism, Deontology, or Virtue Ethics? Explain.

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