Which situation is better?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by fess, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. fess Registered Senior Member

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    A. a couple decides not to have a child

    B. a couple has a child, provides him with a wonderful, happy life for 10 years and then painlessly kills him in his sleep.

    Everyone will say"A" but the net effect is a happy 10 year life opposed to never existing.
    Thoughts?
     
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  3. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

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    C. The couple kills the child à la B, they then eat the child.

    Most people will say A, but in scenario C the child had a good 10 years and then some perfectly good protein was not wasted!
     
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  5. elte Valued Senior Member

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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Several years ago, I actually encountered a version of that sort of thinking when someone I know, faced with the prospect that women have human rights, digressed, for whatever reason, into children suing their parents over heritable disease, as if life itself was a tort.

    It's not like I haven't encountered the book's manner of nihilism, before; I confess, though, to never having encountered it in book form. Still, it's ... interesting ... to know my neighbor isn't the only one.

    • • •​

    Beyond that, the topic post is such a wreck I haven't a clue where to start, so ... something, antisociality—apathos—goes here. Abstraction, objectification, presupposition; the driving components of the inquiry are all poorly established.
     
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Can we flesh this out a little more?

    A. a couple decides not to have a child

    B. a couple has a child, provides him with a wonderful, happy life for 10 years and then painlessly kills him in his sleep.

    C. The couple kills the child à la B, they then eat the child.

    D. A child is born to a single mother who was raped. Soon after birth, the mother abandons the child. The child lives in poverty on the streets, eventually going on to become a drug addict and dying of an overdose at age 23.

    E. A couple has a child. The child grows up in a loving family and leads a rich and fulfilling life, eventually dying of natural causes aged 86.​

    Which situation is better? We might well ask: better for whom? And also: better in what way?

    Here is a list of questions to consider:
    1. Which situation (A-E) is better for the child?
    2. Which situation (A-E) is better for the parents of the child?
    3. Which situation (A-E) is better for society in general?

    If you prefer more specific questions, try these, considering the three perspectives (the child, the parents, society) for each one:
    4. Which is better, considering only options A and E?
    5. Which is better, considering only options A and D?
    6. Which is better, considering only options B and C?
    7. Which is better, considering only options D and E?
    8. Which is better, considering only options B and E?
    9. Which is better, considering only options A and B (as per the opening post)?

    I'm not sure whether considering the options in pairs (as for Q4 to Q9) makes things easier. I think some of those questions have fairly obvious answers, but others require an examination of some complicated ethical dilemmas.

    If fact, maybe a good thing to try to do first is to rank Qs 4-9 in order of difficulty. Deal with the easy ones first, then work your way down to the difficult ones.

    There are other questions that could be asked once we're done considering matters from a anthropocentric perspective, like: which is better for non-human animals on Earth, or which is better for non-human life on Earth in general? But I suggest leaving those questions for later.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020

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