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 Interestng ethical question 
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Ni - Master
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Post Interestng ethical question
So I was watching old episodes of Hercules, and it raised an interesting ethical question I thought I'd see what people thought about. Wasn't sure where to put it so I posted here.

A man is about to fall down a cliff. You have it within your power to save him at no risk to yourself. Do you save the man?

Most people, including myself, would answer yes.

Now what if I were to say that in the immediate future, after being saved, this man would go on to be a mass murderer. He would kill dozens of people until he was caught. If you let him fall, all of that would be stopped. Do you save him?

The question in this is if you let him fall, you were party to the death of an innocent man as he hadn't done anything yet. However, if you saved him, then you were party to the deaths of the others. My personal thoughts on this is that I would save him, as while I cannot determine the actions or intentions of others, I have control over my own and don't have the right to act as judge and jury. That just be me two cents.

Be interesting to hear people's thoughts.

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Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:02 pm
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Chibi-Czar
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Now heres a question... do you KNOW that the person in question will go on to kill the dozens of people? Because if *I* knew that bit of information... I would laugh as the bastard fell to his death...

But... if I didnt know... I would save him... because thats just who I am...

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Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:09 pm
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Cherub
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I remember that episode. That was probably the best story arc in the entire series, even if it did end too abruptly and could've been stretched out more.

Anyway, if you KNOW for a fact that he will commit these crimes, i.e., there is only ONE possible future for this guy, then I say let him drop like a rock.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.


Last edited by Contra Deus on Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:14 pm
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Chibi-Czar
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Yup, that's pretty much the best answer.

If you know he's going to kill lots of people, then letting him die, or assisting in his deal, is an act that would save the dozens of people. Saving him in that case would be the same as killing those people yourself.

If you *don't* know what he's going to do in future, then saving him is the same as saving anyone else, something you just do.

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Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:23 pm
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Also, it depends if the knowledge of his future nasty deeds is something you can use to change the fate he's lined up for himself.

If it's a case of "no matter what you do afterwards he'll murder innocents" then sure, I'd let him drop. But the optimist in me might think "what if me saving his life changes him?"

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Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:51 pm
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Chibi-Czar
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Silly absolutists. Save him, then paralyze him with a rock to the spine. That way he can't kill but is still alive. It produces the least amount of suffering and thus is the most just act.

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Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:02 am
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Chibi-Czar
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This is all, of course, if whatever is telling us about his future potential murders, isn't lying. <.<

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Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:18 am
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Chibi-Czar
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You can't condemn someone based on something they haven't done. You CAN however, attempt to stop someone from committing an act you're sure they're about to commit.

Based on this and the thought people should control their own destiny, I'd save the man, then attempt to stop him from murdering. If I fail the stopping, toss the guy back off the cliff.

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Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:38 pm
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Chibi-Czar
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Anony-mouse wrote:
Silly absolutists. Save him, then paralyze him with a rock to the spine. That way he can't kill but is still alive. It produces the least amount of suffering and thus is the most just act.


I like this idea. We should institute it in the US instead of the death penalty, or as an option in stiffer sentences. I can see it now:

"You've been convicted on charges of killing five people in a planned rampage. We're going to knock you out with some anethesia, cut your spinal cord so you'll never walk again, and put you in a really uncomfortable wheelchair you'll have to pay for. Oh, wait, you also raped one of the victims? We'll cut a little higher then, and make sure you can't feel anything below your waist. You'll have a colostomy bag and a catheter for the rest of your life. Now go sit in your cell and think about what you've done."

It isn't cruel if you knock them out first, and it's not unusual if it's a common practice. Best of all, the guy's not dead and can easily be put back into society with a few prosthetics if it turns out the court screwed up! In the future, we may even be able to heal nerve damage, so the guy can go back with no problems at all once his sentence is up. Everybody wins!

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Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:51 pm
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