Justice Scenariosborrowed from Michael Sandel’s discussion guide
Rationale: We study Justice in order to understand why people believe what they believe.borrowed from Michael Sandel’s discussion guide
True or false? 1) Torture, as a matter of principle, is always morally wrong.borrowed from Michael Sandel’s discussion guide
True or false? Question 2: The morality of an action is determined by whether, compared to the other available options, it maximises the sum total of happiness of all the people affected by it.borrowed from Michael Sandel’s discussion guide
True or false? Question 3: It is always, and everywhere, wrong to cause another persons death - assuming they wish to stay alive - if this outcome is avoidable.borrowed from Michael Sandel’s discussion guide
True or false? Question 4: If you can save the lives of innocent people without reducing the sum total of human happiness, and without putting your own life at risk, you are morally obliged to do so.borrowed from Michael Sandel’s discussion guide
Suppose you are driving through a narrowtunnel and a worker falls onto the road infront of you. There is not enough time for you to stop. If you keep straight, you will hit the worker and kill him, but if you swerve left into oncoming trafﬁc, you will collide with a school bus and kill at leastﬁve children. What’s the right thing to do? Does utilitarianism get the right answer?
The brakes of the train that Casey Jones is driving have just failed. There are ﬁve people on the track ahead ofthe train. There is no way that they can get off the trackbefore the train hits them. The track has a siding leadingoff to the right, and Casey can hit a button to direct thetrain onto it. Unfortunately, there is one person stuck on the siding. Casey can turn the train, killing one person;or he can allow the train to continue onwards, killing ﬁve people.Should he turn the train (1 dead); or should he allow it to keep going (5 dead)?
Marty Bakerman is on a footbrige above the train tracks. He can see that the train approaching the bridge is out of control, and that it is going to hit ﬁve people who are stuck on the track just past the bridge. The only way to stop the train is to drop a heavy weight into its path. The only available heavy enough weight is a (very) fat man, who isalso watching the train from the footbridge. Marty can pushthe fat man onto the track into the path of the train, whichwill kill him but save the ﬁve people already on the track; or he can allow the train to continue on its way, which will mean that the ﬁve will die.Should he push the fat man onto the track (1 dead); or allow the train to continue (5 dead)?
Suppose ten thousand innocent civilians live next to a munitions factory in a country at war. If you bomb the factory,all of them will die. If you don’t bomb the factory, it will be used to produce bombs that will be dropped on ﬁfty thousand innocent civilians in another country. What’s the right thing to do? Does utilitarianism get the right answer?
Suppose a man has planted a bomb in New York City, and it will explode in twenty-four hours unless the police are able to ﬁnd it. Should it be legal for thepolice to use torture to extract information from the suspected bomber? Does utilitarianism get the right answer?
Now suppose the man who has planted the bomb will not reveal the locationunless an innocent member of his family is tortured. Should it be legal for the police to torture innocent people, if that is truly the only way to discover the location of a large bomb? Does utilitarianism have the right answer?
When is utilitarianism correct and when is it not? Why? Can something be for the “greater good” and still be wrong?
Libertarian concepts of Justice `
Can you increase equality without decreasing liberty? Imagine you are LeBron James. Imagine also an equal world of distributed `resources. Now, people want to pay you 5$ a game to play for them. Do you have to give it back? Why would you ever play basketball at all?
Is taxation for redistribution forced labor? Imagine you are Bill Gates and you are taxed for two hours and the money is `given to a poor person. Are you now being forced--against your will--to work for that person? Does this make you a temporary slave?
Does taxation for redistribution violate historical deﬁnitions of justice?Imagine you worked very hard becoming ` a heart surgeon. Now, you make a lot of money saving lives. Should the government have the right to take your money and give it to someone else?
Immanuel KantKantian concepts of Justice `
Imagine a storekeeper who could cheat a young child whocomes to her shop but decides not to because she’s worried ` her customers ﬁnd out. Is she acting morally?
Imagine a teacher who loves helping children because it makes him feel good. ` Is he acting morally?
Suppose someone rescues achild from drowning because he wants a reward. ` Is he acting morally?
What should we consider as a law of morality? The Categorical Imperative--"Act only according to that maxim `whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.
What about freedom and it’s connection to justice?•Is a person who is addicted tocigarettes free? `•Is a person who eats a boatload ofpistachio ice cream free ?•If the government tries to stoppeople from buying large sodas arethey restricting freedom?
Liberal concepts of Justice `
John RawlsImagine the veil of ` ignorance
1st principle: `Everyone should have thesame rights and liberties.
2nd principle: `Their should be equality of opportunity.
Should the children of rich parents be allowed to get very expensive, private math lessons, or singinglessons, or basketball lessons? What if such lessons give them a huge, ` unearned advantage in the race forjobs, careers, and wealth? Is it just for poor children to have much lower prospects as a result?
3rd principle: There should be no differences ` in income and wealth, exceptthose differences that make eventhe least advantaged members of society better off.
1. Is it true that you can’t really claim credit for your upbringing? Surely, your habits and temperaments today are partly the result of your upbringing. Does this mean that you don’t really deserve what you get from making an effort? ` 2. Think of some of the advantages that you have in your life. Do you deserve them more than other people who lack them? If so, why? If not, should these advantages be provided to everyone?
3. Do you think it’s unjust if some people do not get to vote in elections merely because they are a woman or merely because of the color of their skin?4. Do you think it’s unjust if some ` people earn much less money and are much worse off than others merely because they are a woman or a member of a racial or ethnic minority?
5. If you answered “yes” to the last two questions, do you think it’s also unjust if some people are much worse off than others merely because they were born with fewer talents or with a debilitating disease ` and the need for expensive medicines? Why should people be worse off merely because of the way they were born?