Justice/Harvard: Episode 1


  • Consequentialism: morality is derived from the consequences of the act.
    • Popularized by Jeremy Bentham.
  • Categorical morality: some things are inherently wrong.
  • Trolley car problem
    • 5 people will die unless you steer, in which case one person will die.
    • What if you’re an onlooker and you have to push someone on to the tracks to save the five?
    • What if you’re a surgeon and you have to kill one healthy person to save 5 people in need of organ transplants?
  • Utilitarianism: maximize utility
    • Utility: pleasure over pain, happiness over suffering
    • Based on consequentialism
  • Queen vs. Dudley & Stevens
    • 3 shipwreck survivors killed and ate the fourth to survive. Was this moral?
    • How does your answer change when:
      • The person who was killed had no choice
      • The person consented in advance, but might’ve regretted their decision
      • The person consented at the very end
      • Everyone drew straws, so all 4 had a chance of being the one to die.
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