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Deontology vs. Consequences

  • Date Submitted: 10/10/2013 05:04 PM
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Phil 216

Our world has evolved in so many ways over the years, both physically and intelligently. We as human beings have evolved right along with it. When we think of sciences, we immediately think about how things work, and how the human mind “works”; but when we think about being morally philosophical, we think what humans ought to be and what they out to think. These ideas lead into philosopher Joshua Greene’s views on deontology vs. consequences.
Ultimately Greene thinks there is no external fact about what is right or wrong but the best we can do is be consistent with our values as they are. So, what does this mean?   One good example is the infamous “trolley example” where there are 5 people standing on the track and they are about to be hit by the trolley, and there is another track with one person standing on the tracks, and you have the choice to “pull the switch” so the trolley goes to the other track saving the 5 people but resulting in killing the one other person. Many people say they would pull the switch because they would be saving 5 people instead of just one. But, if you made the situation more personal, and up front where you would push a person in front of the trolley in order to slow the trolley down and to save the other 5 people, a lot more people said they wouldn’t push the person and just let things take its own course.   Now why would this have changed if it is the same scenario, just different ways to do it? Greene views it as, people tend to act for a “good will” and that it is more duty based and people don’t think about the consequences of their actions; where people tend to ignore moral ambiguity so to say. In the situation where they “pull the switch” people tend to think “This action is a good deed!” But when it becomes more personal and pushing someone in front of the trolley, then people’s thoughts become “this action is just evil.”
Doing this study in class, our results concluded the same thing that most people would...


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