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Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

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Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby Reaper » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:06 pm

Copied and pasted from here: http://listverse.com/2010/12/26/another-10-moral-dilemmas/

Some people have hypothetical minds that like to debate what is right and wrong. Sometimes, however, what is right and wrong is not so clear, as is the case in a moral dilemma. Three years ago, Jamie Frater created a list of 10 agonizing moral dilemmas. Now that it’s so old, I think it’s time for 10 more. Be sure to tell us what you would do in each case.


10 Overcrowded Lifeboat

You are stranded with thirty people on a lifeboat that is intended to hold only seven. No one can paddle this heavy boat and it is definitely going to sink, drowning everyone inside it. It occurs to you that you can save some of the people in the lifeboat by throwing all but the strongest rowers overboard. Do you think it would be morally permissible to save some people by throwing others overboard, especially seeing that, otherwise, everyone, including those thrown overboard, would have drowned anyway?


9 Painful Wife

Your wife is suffering from a debilitating disease that has put her in constant and permanent pain and agony. Finally, one day, she decides that she really wants to die. However, her condition is such that she cannot die on her own. She is begging and pleading with you to help her commit suicide. This would, of course, be illegal. What would you do?


8 Slave’s Dream

You are a child slave in Africa, laboring away 18 hours a day making rugs. One night, you have a dream: God comes down from heaven and tells you that no one, not one person in the world, is buying your rugs. Would you feel:

a. Disappointed and anguished because you truly are going through all this slavery for nothing, or
b. Pleased because no one is benefiting from your cruel treatment.


7 Debt to your Friend

Slightly based on the trolley dilemma; there is a train that, much to your horror, is about to run over your own son, who has been tied to its track. It just so happens that you have only enough time to pull a lever which will send the train down an alternate track saving your son. However, you see that, tied to the other track, is your best friend, who recently saved your life and you have yet to repay him for doing so. What would you do?


6 Happening upon Money

You are living with your family in a scarce, poverty-stricken country. Where you live, there is no food bank, and you and your family are starving to death. One day, you are out trying to find some sort of food to nourish your family, when something miraculous (or problematic) occurs. You find a huge sack full of money that has fallen off the back of a truck. You realize this would be a fortune to your family, but there is one obvious catch. This money has to belong to someone else, and to take it and use it for your family would be stealing. You could explain your situation to the rightful owner of the money, but how can you know he’ll be a generous person? Would you:

a. Return the money to its rightful owner or
b. Take the money and use it to help your family.


5 Daughter’s Sleepover

One month ago, your 14-year-old daughter had a sleepover with her best female friend, which went very well and both girls had a good time. However, now, she is telling you that she is inviting her male friend over to do the same thing. Neither you, nor her, have ever viewed him as a boyfriend or an intimate partner of any kind, just a friend who happens to be male. He has agreed to come and stay with your daughter overnight, but you are worried that the event could escalate into teen sexuality and consider forbidding him to stay overnight, or telling your daughter not to invite him. Yet, you don’t want to be unfair to your daughter or her friend. She insists to you that he is just a casual friend and no sexual activity will occur. What would you do?


4 Choice for the Cure

You and your friend are stranded on an island. Unfortunately, you are both fatally ill. It just so happens that you have an antibiotic that can cure your illness. Sadly enough, there is just enough antibiotic to save only one person. How could you and your friend choose which one of you will take the antibiotic? Do you think that either person who takes it will, or should, feel guilty for the other person dying, although if neither of you take it, you will both die?


3 Judge’s Abducted Daughter

You are a Judge presiding over the trial of an alleged bank robber, who you know is innocent. However, something terrible in your life has happened: The enemies of the robber have kidnapped your 9-year-old daughter and have held her hostage. You don’t know where she is. The police have tried to locate her to no avail. The kidnappers have left you an anonymous note saying that if you convict the robber, they will set your daughter free. You fear the kidnappers could be abusing or even torturing your child. What would you do?


2 Paramedic’s Uncle

You are a paramedic and you have been called to help a young boy who was in a car accident. On the way to the emergency, you get in an accident with your elderly uncle, who you know and love dearly. He is knocked out, but you are able to determine that he is probably not terribly injured and is likely to survive without immediate medical attention. However, if you stop to help your uncle, or even call backup, you know for sure that the boy will die. The only way you can save the boy is if you drive away immediately. Would you:

a. Stop for your uncle or
b. Leave and help the boy.


1 Man Crossing the Road

You are speeding in your car on a one-way street, through very thick woods with a mad gunman chasing you and shooting at you from behind. Up ahead, you see a pedestrian crossing the street. You figure you have enough time to stop to let him cross, but with the thick woods, you cannot drive around him. Would you:

a. Stop to let the pedestrian cross, even though you are being shot at or
b. Hit the pedestrian and continue speeding away from the gunman.


+ Sophie’s Choice

This is a true story that happened in World War 2. You are an inmate, imprisoned in a concentration camp. A guard tells you that you must choose one of your two children for him to take to the gas chamber. If you choose neither, he will take them both. What would you do?

(Apparently, Sophie told him to take her younger daughter, she lost track of her older son, and she later committed suicide from the guilt of having chosen between her children).
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby xcagedsilhouttex » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:29 pm

10 Overcrowded Lifeboat

You are stranded with thirty people on a lifeboat that is intended to hold only seven. No one can paddle this heavy boat and it is definitely going to sink, drowning everyone inside it. It occurs to you that you can save some of the people in the lifeboat by throwing all but the strongest rowers overboard. Do you think it would be morally permissible to save some people by throwing others overboard, especially seeing that, otherwise, everyone, including those thrown overboard, would have drowned anyway?

Well, yes, obviously. It's either the death of everyone or the survival of a few. I would rather push people out and live.


9 Painful Wife

Your wife is suffering from a debilitating disease that has put her in constant and permanent pain and agony. Finally, one day, she decides that she really wants to die. However, her condition is such that she cannot die on her own. She is begging and pleading with you to help her commit suicide. This would, of course, be illegal. What would you do?

Help her kill herself.

8 Slave’s Dream

You are a child slave in Africa, laboring away 18 hours a day making rugs. One night, you have a dream: God comes down from heaven and tells you that no one, not one person in the world, is buying your rugs. Would you feel:

a. Disappointed and anguished because you truly are going through all this slavery for nothing, or
b. Pleased because no one is benefiting from your cruel treatment.

Neither. I am a slave, they aren't my rugs and I am not profiting either way. If I were to believe that the God who spoke to me in my dreams was a real entity, I would be pretty pissed that his design for me is slavery and a dream pointing out that even that is worthless.


7 Debt to your Friend

Slightly based on the trolley dilemma; there is a train that, much to your horror, is about to run over your own son, who has been tied to its track. It just so happens that you have only enough time to pull a lever which will send the train down an alternate track saving your son. However, you see that, tied to the other track, is your best friend, who recently saved your life and you have yet to repay him for doing so. What would you do?

Save my genetic material.


6 Happening upon Money

You are living with your family in a scarce, poverty-stricken country. Where you live, there is no food bank, and you and your family are starving to death. One day, you are out trying to find some sort of food to nourish your family, when something miraculous (or problematic) occurs. You find a huge sack full of money that has fallen off the back of a truck. You realize this would be a fortune to your family, but there is one obvious catch. This money has to belong to someone else, and to take it and use it for your family would be stealing. You could explain your situation to the rightful owner of the money, but how can you know he’ll be a generous person? Would you:

a. Return the money to its rightful owner or
b. Take the money and use it to help your family.

Take the money.

5 Daughter’s Sleepover

One month ago, your 14-year-old daughter had a sleepover with her best female friend, which went very well and both girls had a good time. However, now, she is telling you that she is inviting her male friend over to do the same thing. Neither you, nor her, have ever viewed him as a boyfriend or an intimate partner of any kind, just a friend who happens to be male. He has agreed to come and stay with your daughter overnight, but you are worried that the event could escalate into teen sexuality and consider forbidding him to stay overnight, or telling your daughter not to invite him. Yet, you don’t want to be unfair to your daughter or her friend. She insists to you that he is just a casual friend and no sexual activity will occur. What would you do?

I wouldn't care if she was going to have sex. This is moot.

4 Choice for the Cure

You and your friend are stranded on an island. Unfortunately, you are both fatally ill. It just so happens that you have an antibiotic that can cure your illness. Sadly enough, there is just enough antibiotic to save only one person. How could you and your friend choose which one of you will take the antibiotic? Do you think that either person who takes it will, or should, feel guilty for the other person dying, although if neither of you take it, you will both die?

I would take it. I don't care how. No guilt. It's fighting for survival.

3 Judge’s Abducted Daughter

You are a Judge presiding over the trial of an alleged bank robber, who you know is innocent. However, something terrible in your life has happened: The enemies of the robber have kidnapped your 9-year-old daughter and have held her hostage. You don’t know where she is. The police have tried to locate her to no avail. The kidnappers have left you an anonymous note saying that if you convict the robber, they will set your daughter free. You fear the kidnappers could be abusing or even torturing your child. What would you do?

Contact the police, report the kidnapping of my child and continue to give my judgement of the case. They aren't likely to let my child go anyway, no matter what judgement I pass. They would be incredibly stupid kidnappers if they did.

2 Paramedic’s Uncle

You are a paramedic and you have been called to help a young boy who was in a car accident. On the way to the emergency, you get in an accident with your elderly uncle, who you know and love dearly. He is knocked out, but you are able to determine that he is probably not terribly injured and is likely to survive without immediate medical attention. However, if you stop to help your uncle, or even call backup, you know for sure that the boy will die. The only way you can save the boy is if you drive away immediately. Would you:

a. Stop for your uncle or
b. Leave and help the boy.

This situation makes absolutely no sense. Why would you be on your own as a paramedic? They work in teams. You can stay with your uncle and they can go off and save the boy.

1 Man Crossing the Road

You are speeding in your car on a one-way street, through very thick woods with a mad gunman chasing you and shooting at you from behind. Up ahead, you see a pedestrian crossing the street. You figure you have enough time to stop to let him cross, but with the thick woods, you cannot drive around him. Would you:

a. Stop to let the pedestrian cross, even though you are being shot at or
b. Hit the pedestrian and continue speeding away from the gunman.

B. Explainable when you are fighting for your own safety.

+ Sophie’s Choice

This is a true story that happened in World War 2. You are an inmate, imprisoned in a concentration camp. A guard tells you that you must choose one of your two children for him to take to the gas chamber. If you choose neither, he will take them both. What would you do?

Choose whichever one is more likely to survive being in a concentration camp. If one already has one foot in the grave, it's an easy choice.
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby solemnlysworn » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:38 pm

10. Throw everybody but the other 6 off. From an egocentric perspective, it's the only way I get to survive. From a broader moral perspective, it's utilitarian that more lives are saved this way.

9. Help her to die. It's my wife and, presumably, there's not much left she can give me. She's in pain. I'm pro-euthanasia in most cases like this.

8. I'm confused about this one. Do I get anything if the rugs sell? If not, it doesn't really matter either way because my outcome is the same assuming they don't stop the operation if the rugs don't sell.

7. The debt itself isn't an issue. If my son means more to me (than my best friend?) then flip it over onto the guy who I owe a debt and watch the debt disappear under 200 tonnes of steel. Otherwise, leave it steam towards my son, saving the friend. This is the second time I haven't really answered the question as they want because the moral dilemma isn't important.

6. b. Take the money and use it to help your family.
It's probably a drug dealer's and I'm about to be hunted down and killed but we'll chance it

5. *shrug*. My parents were casual about this when I brought people over but were stricter when my sister wanted to. Let her do it, I guess. What's the moral dilemma here?

4. I'm not going to let it go to waste.

3. Play dirty judge. Abstracting, it's 'do you do something bad to an innocent to protect something you care about?' and it's a yeah I would.

2. Leave the kid. Similar to the last one: Abstracting, we're letting something bad happen to an innocent (passive rather than active this time) to protect something we care about. Obvious choice.

1. b. Hit the pedestrian and continue speeding away from the gunman.
Assuming all else equal (hitting pedestrian only buys time and doesnt total car), straight through.

+. Do I really want either of them to live in a concentration camp? Dependants in that environment lol. I'd save the stronger or less needy of the two probably.
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby xcagedsilhouttex » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:45 pm

solemnlysworn wrote:
3. Play dirty judge. Abstracting, it's 'do you do something bad to an innocent to protect something you care about?' and it's a yeah I would.


You would assume that the kidnappers would bring back your child? Rationally, it doesn't seem like they would have a reason to. Unless you have better resources to track them than the police, this choice seems to offer you dead child and dead career.
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby solemnlysworn » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:49 pm

You can pop holes in a load of these but I decided to use the questioner's framework.

The way these dilemmas are formed are in closed systems. When you do the dirty on the innocent guy, your daughter gets returned. If you don't, she's going to stay gone. There's no uncertainty.

The dilemma allow you 'perfect' knowledge so that you can make a value-based judgement based on the outcomes of each decision.

Real world decisions work differently because we introduce imperfect knowledge. To worm around it defeats the object because you get away from the value judgement you're asked to make.
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby xcagedsilhouttex » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:00 pm

Fair enough.

I do feel that where it has been left ambiguous is purposeful and meant to open up discussion. No where in that particular framework does it say you believe the kidnappers to be honest.

Although I do admit to poking holes in other frameworks.
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby solemnlysworn » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:05 pm

If it were a question of 'how would you scheme to get the best possible outcome for yourself', I'd answer differently.
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby xcagedsilhouttex » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:16 pm

I fail to see the difference.

However this might be because I believe people to be inherently selfish when it comes down to survival. Everything else that is not survival based is subjective.
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby solemnlysworn » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:20 pm

The difference is demonstrating egocentricity through how you treat the moral dilemma (forced options) and having an open system where you can make up a perfect loop answer that satisfies the question but still relies on imagining circumstances.

An example might be: "I'd kill the guys making me a slave or just escape and move to England" -- I mean, yeah... but that's not the point :)
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Re: Ten Moral Dilemmas - What Would You Do?

Postby xcagedsilhouttex » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:45 pm

I think morality questions are lost on me. Even if I only answered in black and white terms, I never see it as the subjective moral choice but rather a self centred actual choice. I am not sure if this is the correct approach for this type of questioning.

For instance, save your child or a group of 10 children. I will always choose whichever situation benefits me the most, despite the probable correct moral choice being 10 lives. I see the moral choice as the unrealistic choice and therefore I feel that people only answer that way to seem more altruistic.

Is that the way it is meant to be answered?
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