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# A Moral Dilemma with Probability?

You have a situation, the exact parameters of which do not matter.

You have a choice to make.

Choice A will CERTAINLY kill 15 people, and has the POTENTIAL to kill *UP TO* an additional 90 people.

Choice B will CERTAINLY kill 20 people, and has the POTENTIAL to kill *UP TO* an additional 75 people.

You do not know probabilities for these potentials; it could be only 1 or 2, it could be 65 or 70, it could be the full respective 90 and 75.

What do you do, and why??

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### Replies to This Discussion

well, isn't that some sort of reflection upon you>?
Do I know any of em?
No. That's part of the dilemma; you can't/don't know the likelihood of those potentials.
It sounded more like he means whether he knows any of the people that will/might die.
Oh. Damn. You're right. Well, in which case, take the question "as is". If it was not provided to you, do not assume it to be the positive.
Ugh... I think I'd go with the 15. I don't think I'd feel as responsible for potential deaths as I would for definite deaths.
Yes, possibly zero.

SO, from 0 - 90. Or 0-75.
Actually, I would call it a scenario the answer to which is designed to reveal something about your reasoning....whether it could be called moral reasoning is arguable, I suppose, but I tend to think of who kills who and for what reason to be moral questions.

Also, though I took philosophy in college and am familiar with scenarios such as these as they were taught therein, I didn't get this one from a text book or a class. It kinda just came to me, though doubtless it is highly similar to those from the class/text.
While I don't necessarily disagree with you (because I'm not precisely sure what you mean), I'd like to understand what you're getting at.

Skin it and cook it for dinner????

And you're referring to the specific dilemma as I'm framed it here in the post as being the epitome of bad?? If that's what you're referring to, how so? I'm not challenging you or anything like that, just want to understand, seek clarity here.
Cowardice is the proper answer? Finding solution 'C' is the proper answer.
B. The lower maximum number is what convinced me. I'd almost certainly feel equally horrible no matter how many I killed (that is, turn catatonic with guilt) so the lower CERTAIN number is less of a factor than the higher POTENTIAL number.
No - because, while the question is, admittedly, worded poorly, there is the presumption that doing nothing will result in chance taking over (or something.) Unless doing nothing will result in no deaths; in that case, doing nothing beats suicide by one death.

See my reply to my initial answer. I still have no clue what your own death would accomplish.

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