ETHICS-QUIZ-2.docx - Quiz 2 Utilitarianism Suppose you are on an island with a dying millionaire With his final words he begs you for one final favor

ETHICS-QUIZ-2.docx - Quiz 2 Utilitarianism Suppose you are...

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Quiz 2UtilitarianismSuppose you are on an island with a dying millionaire. With his final words, he begs you for one finalfavor: “I’ve dedicated my whole life to baseball and for fifty years have gotten endless pleasure rootingfor the New York Yankees. Now that I am dying, I want to give all my assets, $5 million, to the Yankees.”Pointing to a box containing money in large bills, he continues: “Would you take this money back to NewYork and give it to the Yankees’ owner so that he can buy better players?” You agree to carry out hiswish, at which point a huge smile of relief and gratitude breaks out on his face as he expires in yourarms. After traveling to New York, you see a newspaper adver- tisement placed by your favorite charity,World Hunger Relief Organization (whose integrity you do not doubt), pleading for $5 million to be usedto save 100,000 people dying of starvation in Africa. Not only will the $5 million save their lives, but itwill also purchase equipment and the kinds of fertilizers neces- sary to build a sustainable economy. Youdecide to reconsider your promise to the dying Yankee fan, in light of this advertisement.What is the right thing to do in this case? Consider some traditional moral principles and see if they helpus come to a decision. One principle often given to guide action is “Let your conscience be your guide.” Irecall this principle with fondness, for it was the one my father taught me at an early age, and it stillechoes in my mind. But does it help here? No, since conscience is primarily a function of upbringing.People’s consciences speak to them in different ways according to how they were brought up. Dependingon upbringing, some peo- ple feel no qualms about committing violent acts, whereas others feel the tor-ments of conscience over stepping on a gnat. Suppose your conscience tells you to give the money to theYankees and my conscience tells me to give the money to the World Hunger Relief Organization. How canwe even discuss the matter? If conscience is the end of it, we’re left mute. Another principle urged on usis “Do whatever is most loving”; Jesus in particular set forth the principle “Love your neighbor asyourself.” Love is surely a wonderful value. It is a more wholesome attitude than hate, and we shouldovercome feelings of hate if only for our own psychological health. But is love enough to guide ouractions when there is a conflict of interest? “Love is blind,” it has been said, “but reason, like marriage, isan eye-opener.” Whom should I love in the case of the disbursement of the millionaire’s money—themillionaire or the starving people? It’s not clear how love alone will settle anything. In fact, it is notobvious that we must always do what is most loving. Should we always treat our enemies in loving ways?
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