PHIL 101 - second essay_Essay

PHIL 101 - second essay_Essay - Philosophy 101 Essay 2...

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5/5/2006 Philosophy 101 – Essay 2 The state of affairs below is going to be the basis of the arguments to follow: In a certain situation there is a convicted murder, M, who is serving a life sentence in prison. This murder is guarded by a person, G. At a point during M’s sentence, G is contacted by a hostage-taker, H, who has a demand. It is at this instant that G is placed in a very difficult situation. He is given the option of killing prisoner M, or allowing H to kill the ten hostages under his/her control. Under these circumstances G chose to kill M and in turn, saved the lives of the ten hostages. In essence, the premise of utilitarian thought is the sum of individual actions, needs, or preferences, is the actions, needs, or preferences of the population as a whole. So, it is usually the case that an individual wants to go forth with something that will be a positive influence on the society they belong to. In its simplest form, utilitarianism says that one should act in accordance with what will be the best outcome in the short term, although long run effects definitely come into play at a deeper level. This is directly connected to the consequentialist ethical theory, which basically states that one should do whatever will have the best consequences or outcomes. In most cases the one involved in the situation will look into the very immediate future in order to determine what action will produce the best and most positive consequence. This decision, however, may in many cases differ from a
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decision that would be made based upon a deeper analysis and evaluation of long term effects. For instance, say one decides that since his/her friend’s
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This essay was uploaded on 02/20/2009 for the course PHIL 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Cornell.

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PHIL 101 - second essay_Essay - Philosophy 101 Essay 2...

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