The Utilitarian Question Paper

The Utilitarian Question Paper

  • Jim is a drifter who has no friends. But he learns that a long-lost relative is in the hospital and travels to Shelbyville intending to visit her. In fact, Jim has the wrong town. It turns out that the relative is miles away in Springfield. So Jim gives up and falls asleep on the lawn outside the Shelbyville General Hospital. Inside a desperate doctor is struggling with nine seriously ill patients. Patient #1 urgently needs a new heart or he will die. Patient #2 needs a new liver or he will die. Patient #3 needs a new kidney or he will die. And so on, up to Patient #9, who needs new lungs or he will die. The Utilitarian Question Paper

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  • The doctor spies Jim asleep on the lawn. Glancing at his medicine cabinet, he knows that it would be a simple matter to kill Jim off without anyone ever knowing and transplanting his organs to his dying patients. He is faced with a choice: kill Jim and harvest his organs, thereby saving nine prominent citizen, or leave Jim alone, in which case they will all surely die.

In a short paper answer the following questions about the doctor’s dilemma.

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  1. What would a utilitarian say the right thing to do is?
  2. Are there any problems with the utilitarian answer to the doctor’s dilemma?
  3. What is the right thing to do?
  4. Why is this the right thing to do?
  5. Can the utilitarian correctly explain why this is the right thing to do? If so, why? If not, why not?

The Utilitarian Question Paper

 
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