Famine, Affluence And Morality

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Alex, a train yard worker is faced with a decision no one wants to make. He is witnessing a situation where he sees his five fellow co-workers in the distance working on the train tracks. Alex then notices a roaring train headed straight for the five workers, who our completely oblivious to this act. He discovers a lever that will detour the oncoming train off the track with the five workers but onto another one. Alex then sees a problem with this track, it has lone co-worker on it. Alex should not pull the lever, for a few reasons. Pulling the lever would not only be morally wrong but ethically wrong also. It would be ultimately wrong for Alex to pull the lever. James Rachels the philosopher, who wrote, What is Morality, gives us a couple …show more content…
Ethics is the understanding the responsibility and ability of the individual to make a decision based through the reasoning of which principles are relevant in a particular way. Peter Singer, a philosopher who wrote the popular essay Famine, Affluence and Morality said “ If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening without there by sacrificing anything else morally significant we ought to morally do it”. We first must dissect this question to get a better feeling of what Singer is saying. First we must conclude what we are deciding is ‘bad’. Secondly if this act is preventable, to stop something from happening or existing, and lastly if we were to do something it does not sacrifice anything else morally significant. Back to the trolley incident we can agree that getting hit by a train is something bad. We can also say that getting hit by a train is preventable. And for Alex to pull the lever would entail in sacrificing something morally significant, a human beings life, we ought not to do it. We can use this example in a more realistic situation. Lets say a surgeon could save five lives by killing one patient, and distribute the one patients organs to the five patients that would die either way, getting the organs or not. These situations are the same, weighing a negative duty (killing a life), by adding a positive duty (saving lives). By this reasoning it would be unethical to kill in order to save a

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