[Buddha-l] Ethical Dilemmas
vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 10 09:06:29 MDT 2010
>Really? We have to weight every relevant factor to make an ethical decision
>not just all the factors that we know?
No, but you are missing the point. This is not a run of the mill ethical
decision, but a life-or-death determination, absolutely irreversible and
irremediable. If you are deciding who lives and who dies, you better have
ALL the facts beforehand. Without those facts, you cannot decide ethically.
People (or sentient beings) are not numerical units, nor are they
abstractions. The track walkers are not all equal just because they are all
(presumably) human (no zombies or vampires trolling the tracks). Who they
are is a product of what they've done (karma). You are not (normally) the
judge of their karma, but if you are making life and death decisions for
them, without their knowledge or approval nor sanctioned to do so by any
judicial authority whatsoever, you better know who they are. Otherwise, as I
said, whatever you do, it would be unethical to pretend what you are doing
Let's shift the example. Several people are drowning in icy cold water. You
jump in to try to save them. You can only grab one and make it back to
shore, but not all of them -- or else the cold water will disable you and
you will drown as well. Which one do you grab? Answer: It doesn't matter.
Whichever you can. Should that one turn out to be a reprehensible character,
so be it. That you can't save the rest and didn't save someone perhaps more
estimable than the one you saved is moot.
Why is this situation different from the tracks? And it is.
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