Should Doug refuse to throw the rope to save himself and the other lifeboat passengers?
I think it is evident that if anyone were to survive the lifeboat would have to be lightened. Therefore, the just thing to do in this circumstance is for Doug not to flip the rope to rescue himself and the other lifeboat passenger because both the lives of those aboard are precious and vital as those of the old individuals. Such an action would be right and just since the elderly would still drown themselves anyway even if Doug would have thrown the rope to them. Further, if Doug did nothing regarding the request of the old to throw a rope to them, he would, however, still be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Although, some people might oppose the decision that Doug should not throw the rope by arguing that if nothing was to be done and everyone died. As a result, no one would be held responsible for these deaths include Doug himself. On the other hand, if Doug were to save some, he would only do so by not throwing the rope thus leaving the old individuals in an awkward position that at the end of it they would drown thus killing themselves. Therefore, their deaths would be his responsibility. However, this action would be worse than doing nothing and letting all die.
Would it make a difference if the people in the water were not old, but young children (with their whole lives ahead of them)? Why or why not?
It would not make any difference since both the children lives and that of the old are precious and important. Saving the lives of both Doug and those aboard the life passengers and risking the children lives would not be acceptable, but honestly speaking the best decision. It is because the only choice left is no action at all. On the contrary, since moral damages are already in place in this circumstance, saving the children as opposed to when the old were the ones trapped in the waters constitutes consent in the moral wrong. Therefore, it would be seen Doug as partly liable for the death when if not no one would be responsible even if the lives of the children were involved. Furthermore, Doug being present in this state of affairs and being able to impact its outcome constitutes a duty for him to play a part since not doing anything would only point to the incommensurability of human lives.
Finally, the situation is constructed as an argument for, "The greatest good for the greatest number" ethic. Since, everyone dies is not optional, from any point of view. Moreover, the decision not to do anything and leaving everything to work itself out is a death sentence to those outside the boat whether they are children or the old. I tend to leave the discussion open to other actions, assuming that everyone involved wants to live; some individual might offer to give themselves up for the greater good. It is most likely that this decision would not solve the problem entirely, but it might influence or impact on the values or ground rules as well as the attitude on board. Thus, facilitating the disastrously necessary decisions required in a dilemma or tragic situation involving the lives of individuals hence formulating criteria for selection.
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