Friday, February 08, 2002

Utilitarianism

When someone tells you that you should agree with something because it will help more people than it will hurt, that the ends justify the means, remember this....

Utilitarianism doesn't work.

Let's say you have five people who will die if they do not get an organ transplant. One drank a bit too much and now needs a new liver, one has a bad heart, another needs a new lung, and two other need kidneys. One donor will match all of them.

Utilitarianism tries to maximize happiness. If society kills a donor and distributes the organs to the five people, the patients now will all survive. Five lives for one? Isn't that maximizing happiness? Five families get to have their loved ones back. Only one has to go a funeral.

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