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Chapter 1

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PHIL 1050
Mark Mc Cullagh

Chapter 1: What is Morality? 1.1. The problem of the definition: - Moral philosophy = study what morality is & what is requires of us - Socrates = “how we ought to live” & why 1.2. First Example: Baby Theresa: - Theresa Ann Campo Pearson = Baby Theresa - Had Anencephaly = babies without brains (important parts of the brain – cerebrum + cerebellum are missing) One of the worst disorders - Knowing she would die soon her parents volunteered her organs for immediate transplant - Organs were not taken because Florida law forbids removal of organs until donor is dead - 9 days later Theresa died = too late, her organs had deteriorated to much - “Ethicists View” – most disagreed with parents and physicians - “Seems to horrifying to use people as means to other peoples ends” - “Unethical to kill person A to save B etc.” The benefits argument: supports transplant: - Parents reasoning for choice = “if we can benefit someone without harming anyone else, we ought to do so” - Transplanting the organs would benefit the other children without harming baby Theresa. - Therefore we ought to transplant the organs = ultimately correct Reasons why parents are right: - Being alive is only a benefit if you can carry on activities and have normal functions = thoughts, feelings etc. - Without such things existence has no value Argument: We should not use people as means: - “Autonomy” = the ability to decide how to live your own life according to desires and values - Ethicists = “it is wrong to use people as a means to other peoples end” - Taking baby Theresa’s organs does not violate her autonomy – she has none, no functions - When people can’t make decisions for themselves + others have to do it = 2 guidelines that might be adopted: - 1) What would be in their own best interest - 2) If she could tell us what she wanted, what would she say (good for people who have preferences, or once had them= people in coma’s) Argument: From the wrongness of killing: - “Wrong to kill a person to save another” - Few people believe it is always wrong to kill (self-defense) - New understanding of death = not only when heart stops beating, it can also be when brain stops functioning - “Brain death” = new end of life standard - Brain death solved transplant problem, could still have healthy organs - Heart deteriorates after death, not suitable for transplant 1.3. Second example: Jodie and Mary - Conjoined twins: spines fused, 1 heart beat, 1 pair of lungs - Jodie = Stronger + providing blood to Mary - Without intervention both would die in 6 months - Only hope = separate and save Jodie, Mary would die - Parents against it = Catholics, nature should take its course, “God’s Will” - Hospital took it to court and won, saved Jodie - “Who should make the decision” + “What should the decision be” Argument: We should save as many as we can: - A poll showed that 78% of people agreed with the operation - Better to save one that none (most people) Ar
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