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View Diary: Sociopaths, Neuroscience, and Morality (139 comments)

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  •  I'm late to this thread (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mathGuyNTulsa, kat herder

    but I have a question about the first scenario.  

    What is the classification for people who would decide not to flip the switch?  

    I'm not sure what I would do myself in that situation, but I think there's a strong argument that by flipping the switch and killing the 1 person, you are responsible for a death.  Whereas if you don't flip it, yes 5 people will die, but the cause is unconnected to anything you did.

    Maybe I see it this way because I'm a lawyer.  One thing you learn in law school is that there is no duty to rescue.  If you see someone drowning, even if you can swim & could save them, you have no duty to do so.  But, if you do decide to rescue them, and then during the rescue something goes wrong and they die, you've now taken on the responsibility and could possibly be held at fault.

    Obviously having no legal duty to do something, and feeling an internal moral duty, are very separate.

    although it's getting late, you still have plenty of time

    by maracuja on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:05:11 AM PDT

    •  I like lawyers (0+ / 0-)

      Just so you know.  You keep us out of trouble.

      I hadn't thought of it that way, which is another reason to like lawyers.  Different ways of thinking are helpful.

      Anyway, after I read both scenarios, I came back to question my impulse in the first scenario.  Your reasoning provides a logical and moral basis for doing nothing.  "First to no harm" isn't a bad premise, right?

      Of course, as noted above, the scenarios are artificial. THey are  useful for discussion and maybe for experiment, but not very practical.  

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Arthur C. Clarke

      by mathGuyNTulsa on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:49:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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