Moral Dilemmas

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Moral Dilemmas

Postby -Metablade- » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:54 pm

The Overcrowded Lifeboat

In 1842, a ship struck an iceberg and more than 30 survivors were crowded into a lifeboat intended to hold 7.
As a storm threatened, it became obvious that the lifeboat would have to be lightened if anyone were to survive. The captain reasoned that the right thing to do in this situation was to force some individuals to go over the side and drown. Such an action, he reasoned, was not unjust to those thrown overboard, for they would have drowned anyway. If he did nothing, however, he would be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Some people opposed the captain's decision. They claimed that if nothing were done and everyone died as a result, no one would be responsible for these deaths. On the other hand, if the captain attempted to save some, he could do so only by killing others and their deaths would be his responsibility; this would be worse than doing nothing and letting all die. The captain rejected this reasoning. Since the only possibility for rescue required great efforts of rowing, the captain decided that the weakest would have to be sacrificed. In this situation it would be absurd, he thought, to decide by drawing lots who should be thrown overboard. As it turned out, after days of hard rowing, the survivors were rescued and the captain was tried for his action.

If you had been on the jury, how would you have decided?

:?:
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Postby cxt » Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:25 pm

I'd blame the Capt for the poor leadership in having only one lifeboat for 30 people.

I'd also wish to know why he struck an iceberg in the first place--did he not have people watching?
Was he running the ship to fast for the weather?

Point being that there may be other reasons for blaming the Capt--other than his treatment of the events of the boat.

Plus--why did he not go down with his ship? :)

Were the people passangers or other sailors?
Might make a difference in the duty of the Capt and any other sailors present.

Personally I find it a bit odd that a boat that was designed to hold 7 people could handle 30--that's kinda a reach.

The story indictaes that people would "drown" rather than freeze to death--so perhaps there would have been another way of saving more people.
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Postby Stryke » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:58 pm

the only thing the captain did wrong was to not volunteer to be first overboard .
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Postby -Metablade- » Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:34 pm

Stryke wrote:the only thing the captain did wrong was to not volunteer to be first overboard .


Meta:
Ah! But then who would lead the rest?
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Postby Panther » Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:55 pm

The "rest" could have overpowered the "captain" and tossed his @$$ overboard first... If only someone else had stepped forth to lead the "mutiny".

Oh, the woes of following blindly...
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Postby -Metablade- » Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:12 am

:lol:

That's certainly one way of dealing with it.
:lol:

Devil's advocate:
But then, once "El Capitan" is deep-6'ed, then there is a power vacuum. Not usually something you want to have in a crisis.
Then the strong vie for power, things can get ugly, the boat could capsize, killing all or most.
Or then, once a new leader 'seats' him/herself, what is to say that the whole process will not repeat itself, meanwhile precious planning for survival time is lost?
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Postby Mary S » Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:23 am

I would think the crew's first duty is to the passengers of the vessel. I find these life or death historical situations fascinating.

Might I recommend In the Heart of the Sea by Nathan Philbrick. This book was the basis for Moby Dick.
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The Torture of the Mad Bomber

Postby -Metablade- » Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:23 am

Good input from everyone!

Here's another one.

The Torture of the Mad Bomber, ct. Clint Eastwood's movie, Dirty Harry. Now, however, after 9/11/01, we have the case of terrorist suspects who may know of planned operations that could cost the lives of thousands. The otherwise four-square civil libertarian and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has actually suggested legalized torture to deal with such people.

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. Do you agree? If you do, would it also be morally justifiable to torture the mad bomber's innocent wife if that is the only way to make him talk? Why?
What if the bomb was a nuke?
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On topic

Postby Van Canna » Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:47 am

But the question here is > If you had been on the jury, how would you have decided? <

Not enough information_ He was tried, but was he found guilty?

Was the captain tried for a crime or for a tortuous act?

If a crime, what was he charged with?

If a civil action_ Doctrine of maritime rescue is based on law of negligence, and like other aspects of this law, responsibility is tested by standard of reasonable care.

What duty did the captain have toward his passengers?

And did he breach this duty? When and how did this breach first occur?

And if he did, was such a breach the proximate cause of the weakest being thrown overboard?

Was the captain’s tossing the weakest overboard a negligent act or an intentional act?

How does negligence law work during emergency situations?

‘Respondeat superior’ doctrine. Who else is liable and why?

How about foreseeability? Who is charged with that?

MJ_ is that you in the avatar? Handsome :D
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Postby Stryke » Tue Jan 31, 2006 5:58 am

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Meta:
Ah! But then who would lead the rest?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



and you think your a philosopher :twisted:

the moral dilema would no longer be the captains , he made a moral act

as for who would lead it would be the captain , the other moral people inspired by the captains example then too , would have to make the supreme sacrafice until numbers where appropriate !!! :lol:

Or are you saying that in this situation there is more to it than morals and ethics ? , and sometimes extreme situations have no moral or ethical solutions ? , maybe there are shades of grey where one can only do ones best , and be damned to hell for all eternity for being fallible and human

:microwave:
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Postby -Metablade- » Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:07 pm

I am saying nothing.
The question is one of your own personal ethics.
i.e., What would you do?
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Postby Van Canna » Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:42 pm

This may help
Circumstances _

The law also allows leeway to people who act under emergency circumstances that they did not create.

Ordinarily, if the emergency arises suddenly and unexpectedly, requires immediate action without time for deliberation-- or appears to require immediate action -- and was not caused by the negligence of the person whose conduct is being judged, the jury will be instructed that they should take the emergency circumstances into account.

While instructions vary substantially from place to place, the intent of the instruction is to inform jurors that an instinctive reaction is not negligent under emergency circumstances.

The emergency doctrine, along with Good Samaritan laws and the rescuer concept, help to shield people who assist drivers in trouble. The emergency doctrine is also applicable in vessel collision cases, if the accident happens fast enough.
Last edited by Van Canna on Tue Jan 31, 2006 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Panther » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:19 pm

-Metablade- wrote:What would you do?


Hmmmmm... Kill 'em all and let God sort it out?!? :lol:
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