Analysis Of The Book ' The Survival Lottery ' Essay

1802 Words Oct 18th, 2016 8 Pages
In this paper, I will analyze John Harris’ argument structure in his 1975 article “The Survival Lottery,” then raise an objection to one of his arguments, then I will state what I believe Harris’ response to my arguments would be. After an analysis of Harris’ arguments, I disagree with Harris’ assertion that all lives are equal based on arguments involving society, virtue, and social effect. I believe that Harris would counter with arguments of utilitarianism, legality, and application of the veil of ignorance.
Harris concludes through his arguments, a lottery to select those that would be killed for the purpose of organ harvest is not just morally permissible, it is a moral obligation. First, he argues, (a) prima facie, we must save as many people as possible from premature death. He then claims that, (b) assuming organ donation has been perfected, the organs from one healthy person would save multiple people. Thirdly, he asserts that (c) there is no morally relevant difference between killing someone and letting someone die; inaction in letting someone die is equivalent to murder. He then states that (d) all lives are of equal value, therefore death should effect each of us equally; any one life is equivalent to any other life, and by correlation death should be random. Thus, he concludes that (e) we are morally obligated to kill one randomly selected person for the purpose of organ harvest to save multiple people from premature death. Harris’ conclusion is…

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