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cruw    6

Hey guys, for those who dont know me, my names Cruw. 

I am in my 2nd year of university, one of my credit courses was an ethical reason/analysis class. I would like to ask a question and see how you guys are ethically. Are you a consequentialist? what about a utilitarian? or many others.


The question is as follows.

You and a group of tourists go into a cave, after 9 of you make it in, the last group member is so large, he gets stuck in the entrance to the cave. There is no way out, all you have is a stick of dynamite. Do you kill one to save many? Do you all accept your fate and die of starvation? 

Before you answer this, keep in mind in almost any ethical view including utilitarianism, ( a theory that states if the decision has a greater positive or good effect to the majority, then it is ethical. ) rules out almost any decision if it involves killing, especially a killing of innocent people. 


Is there an ethical way out of this? Is there any ethical stance or theory you can think of that might be valid or realistic? Let me know in the comments below :) thanks for reading guys.


Me personally, I believe in a theory from Marx, which is a none-consequentialist view, which means the ethical/morality of a decision relies on at least more than one factor than the pure outcome being positive. This may sound confusing, but its really actually quite simple. (BTW consequentialism is the theory that if a decisions outcomes are positive, then the decision must be moral, but Marx says that theres more than just the outcome of a decision to judge to determined if that decision is in fact ethical.) Things that can impact a decision, most notably, the will/intent behind it can greatly weigh in on a decision. So if the will or intent is to free the people, and it saves the majority of people as risk here, I would believe it to still be immoral but likely to be the most ethical way to get out of the situation. Since it is either fat man dies, or fat man dies along with the other 9 people in the cave. Techincally, this is immoral since it involves killing an innocent man. But either situation kills someone, this one just kills less. 

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Lord soth    0

I like this idea and would like to see more scenarios posted like this! 


Personally id blow is fat ass to smitherines and I think most of the other 9 people in that cave would agree with me on that. 


Now what if it was the fat man holding the dynamite and the decision was his to make? Would that change the morality of the situation? If you agree that it is generally considered morally wrong to kill yourself, would it be considered wrong in this scenario? If not then where do we draw that line?

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Belzenlok    5

I believe morality is immanent in most of the people. I am pretty sure that most of the people in the cave, whether it is inevitable or not, think or feel that killing the man is not a proper decision to make. It is true that people will be terrified on the upcoming disaster and in some part in their heart, they might want to escape as it is also an instinct that cannot be controlled. However, as “love” and “harmony” have always been a core norm in human nature, and as we strive to develop ourselves with “cooperation” throughout history, killing a life to justify the survive of others will not be honored at all. I surely guarantee that even though they survive by murdering the man, they will live rest of their lives in pain and guiltiness. Therefore, even though the scenario say that there is no other way to escape the cave, they should keep figuring out the alternatives that can lead them out of the situation.

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