Penny for Your Philosophical Thoughts?
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Is it morally wrong

to steal from the dead? I recently participated in an online survey that presents questions to determine how people would respond to specific ethically-challenging situations (http://moral.wjh.harvard.edu/). At the end of the questionnaire you are presented with your responses to 2 situations at a time and asked why you selected a different response in one case versus another.
Two of the questions I was asked were quite similar in that they involved the exchange of 1 life for 5 (or the other way around). However, there was a particular addition in one of the cases that changed my response from allowing the 1 for 5 trade-0ff to not allowing it; in the second case, in order to save the 5, not only would the 1 have to die, but his organs would be used to allow the 5 to keep on living. This is in contrast from the first scenario in which the doctor would simply have to ignore the 1, let him die, and treat the other 5 and have them live. Nowhere in the question does it state that he is asked if it is ok for his organs to be distributed (for neither he, nor the 5, know that their lives are in this life-for-life predicament).
So my question to you: Are humans owed any moral preference post-life? By this I mean, can we steal from the dead? And for that matter, can we do anything we would consider "unethical" to a living human, to a dead one? I imagine this could have an effect on the question of when a human actually gains moral standing (as is the case in the pro-life pro-choice debate) and when he would lose any ethical gain that a "living human" status would provide.
I hope I stated my question clearly. I'm still learning the ins and outs of proper philosophical etiquite.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ahem... Hello!

Hey everyone. I will be joining philosophy department at CSUN in the spring semester. I'm pretty excited to be majoring in philosophy. Although I will be a part timer for my duration at CSUN, I'm hoping I can contribute in whatever small way is possible to the philosophy deptartment. :)