Is it entirely irrelevant who has to kill the one to save the five ESSAY2

Is it entirely irrelevant who has to kill the one to save the five ESSAY2

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Is it entirely irrelevant who has to kill the one to save the five? What if I have to do the “dirty job”? Ethical theories based on the doctrine of consequentialism, and in particular that of utilitarianism, have  been criticised on the grounds that they are excessively onerous for an agent, leaving no room for his  or her life projects or commitments to various, possibly moral, causes, and also that the doctrine  alienates his intentions from his actions. However, the issue in this case is one of impartiality; I will  argue in this essay that it is indeed irrelevant as to whom it is that performs that act that leads to the  death of the one, in order that his death may save the five, and also that if I consider myself to be a  true act-utilitarian, then I too must do the ‘dirty job’ while simultaneously accepting that I am morally  right in doing so.  One of the principal issues behind this essay title is that of  integrity . However, Bernard Williams, the  best known writer on the subject, did not use the word ‘integrity’ in its everyday sense, to denote the  virtue of uprightness or honesty. Rather he meant various different things by it; firstly, he wished to  question the morality of certain acts – “Does it not matter morally in certain situations that it is  you  in  particular who are acting  in a certain way?  Are there not… constraints   on what   you   can do?” 1 Secondly, Williams is concerned that utilitarianism requires us to see ourselves in a way not akin to  reality, but rather as beings concerned only with welfare maximisation rather than with our own, more  personal,   commitments.   Lastly,   when   he   speaks   on   the   problems   of   integrity,   he   argues   that  utilitarianism cannot justify its strict impartiality. For the sake of this essay, I will adapt one of William’s own examples, that of Jim and the Indians; Jim,  a touring botanist, comes across a public execution in a town square one day. Having established that  Jim is not someone to distrust, the army captain, in charge of the execution, offers him a guest’s  privilege – Jim himself has the opportunity of saving five of the condemned Indians if he shoots one. If  he does not, then all six will die.  According to Williams, “it seems to me that [act-]utilitarianism replies…that Jim should kill the Indian… and it regards [the course of action]…as  obviously  the right answer” 2 . If we accept this, as I think we  should if we consider ourselves to be act-utilitarians 3 , then it follows that providing that the end result is 
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Is it entirely irrelevant who has to kill the one to save the five ESSAY2

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