Florida International University Consequences of Actions Questions

Florida International University Consequences of Actions Questions

Consequences of Actions


Questions and Thought Experiments

The first thing I would like to do is return to the original “scene of the crime”, if you will. Remember the first question I asked during the first RP? I want to revisit that question because I want to see how your thinking has progressed.

So here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to ask you this question again, and I want you to answer it again. DON’T COPY-PASTE YOUR ORIGINAL ANSWER! Write out a new response. See if your thinking has changed or evolved.

  1. Consider the following scenarios:
    1. A stranger saves a small child from drowning.
    2. A soldier risks their life to carry an injured civilian to a hospital.
    3. A medical doctor ensures that the cure they developed for a serious virus remains affordable to the general public.

I do not think it is controversial to suggest that these are examples of actions that are morally right, or morally praiseworthy. However, my question to you is, when you think about the morality (the rightness or wrongness) of an action, what do you think matters more—the intentions (the motives) of the person who is doing the action or the consequences (the results) of the action? Which of these two—the motives or the consequences—matters most when determining whether someone does the right thing? Why do you believe that? Give me 3 – 5 sentences here. Tell me what you think and why you think it. Don’t worry about being wrong. Just be honest.

  1. Got your new answer? Alright. Cool. Here’s a brief follow up. Of the theories we’ve looked at this semester, which do you think has most informed your answer to the previous question? Why is that? In your view, what does this theory ‘get right’ about the nature of morality? Did learning about this theory prompt you to change your views in comparison to your first response from the start of the semester? Or has this theory helped you confirm your views? Why is that?
  2. Last question, kiddos! Why don’t we have fun with this one. Here’s a moral thought experiment for you:

After several months of a deadly cat-and-mouse chase, you and your Special Forces Unit have managed to capture Saren Arterius, the renegade responsible for a terrorist attack in Chicago, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent, civilian lives. The FBI and the CIA have determined that another terrorist attack is immanent, though the official day, time, and location is still beyond them. Saren is the only one who knows the full details. Getting this information from him may save countless civilian lives. Predictably, Saren has refused to cooperate. However, your second in command, Lieutenant Garrus Vakarian, has a plan. Recently, his unit captured Saren’s only child, a 9 year old boy named Raulito. Vakarian’s plan is to have you torture little Raulito in front of Saren, coercing him into divulging all the information he has. Though he is Saren’s son, Raulito knows nothing of Saren’s life as a terrorist; he is a normal child. From the perspective of the theory you most align with (i.e. the one you discussed in the second question of this RP), is it morally permissible to torture Raulito, in order to ultimately prevent a terrorist attack? Why or why not? As a follow up: Beyond what the theory recommends, what do you believe is the right thing to do? Is there a “gap” between your position and the theory position? If so, why do you think that is?

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