Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Moral Dilemma: The Overcrowded Lifeboat?

A boat has struck a rock and is sinking and the lifeboat only can seat 20 people, but there are 22 passengers, yourself included. Who gets on the lifeboat and how do you choose? Who should be sacrificed? Should the Captain always go down with the ship?

Update:

the point in moral dilemma exercises is to decide based on the choices you have. You cannot make up other possible choices, they do not exist and are not possible. In this case, the rock is beneath the water and one cannot sit on it. The water is frigid and cold and they are too far from shore to swim. It's in the lifeboat to row to safety, or die in the water.

Update 2:

ethics and morals are arguably of the same meaning.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First of all let's do it with no cheating. 2 have to die. Let's say the water is so cold that whoever goes into the water will be dead in a matter of minutes so you can't avoid the question by finding a way to save everyone.

    As to the captain of the ship, no, I don't think the captain has a moral obligation to go down with the ship. The sinking may or may not be the captain's fault and the captain is as much entitled to life as anyone. It's true that the captain has chosen to make his money from the sea and thus may be considered to have signed on with an obligation to go down with the ship, but this is more a matter of culture and tradition than it is of real moral value. Furthermore, as the story of Bligh from Mutiny on the Bounty shows, a trained navigator like a sea captain can save everyone's life by running the life boat.

    Personally I'd be inclined at first to go by age- older people who have lived fuller, more complete lives should yield to younger people who still have the experiences of life ahead of them. I'd want people there alone to volunteer so that others need not watch their loved ones die in front of them. I'd want to spare the parents of young children. People doing work most beneficial to others would, I'd like to see, get priority.

    But ultimately, if i were really in the situation, I would opt for the legal tradition- drawing lots. Pure chance. short end of the stick.

    Why? This way nobody there has decided to kill anyone else. If there are no volunteers and a choice has to be made, leave it up to fate.

    Believe it or not, there are actually legal cases dating from the good old sailing days dealing with this very subject and only those who rely on chance were found not guilty of murder.

    There's a lot to be said for not having the guilt of a choice resting on the heads of the survivors, there's a lot to be said for everyone taking an equal risk.

    In the end, though, two people will die and thus there is no way of choosing that will end in a good result.

  • 6 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    Moral Dilemma: The Overcrowded Lifeboat?

    A boat has struck a rock and is sinking and the lifeboat only can seat 20 people, but there are 22 passengers, yourself included. Who gets on the lifeboat and how do you choose? Who should be sacrificed? Should the Captain always go down with the ship?

    Source(s): moral dilemma overcrowded lifeboat: https://tr.im/zsFQd
  • 4 years ago

    Lifeboat Dilemma

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    First I would see if you could have the 2 extra people on board without endangering the life boat. Two extra people depending on their size probably would not sink the lifeboat.

    If the lifeboat was is grave danger of sinking, I would draw straws or something similar, the Captain is included if he wants to participate. If the Captain feels it is his duty to go down with the ship, that is for him to decide. The two that don't get a spot can hold on to the side, in the event of a timely rescue.

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  • 1 decade ago

    first of all, the captain should always go down with the ship. that is the inherent moral code of someone in command...much the same as a squad leader running out on his men during combat or an airline pilot parachuting out while the entire crew and all passengers crash...now, as far as how to chose, that should also be left up to the captain. i think that children and women should be allowed to stay aboard first, then if there is still room for more--the younger ones should be allowed to remain while the older ones who have already had an opportunity to live should go....(a pregnant woman should never be sacrificed no matter what order these other factors occur).

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Your question is flawed, just because the lifeboat will only seat 20 does not mean it cannot hold 22, If im the 22nd man in line im laying across some laps or something. But if the boat reached its maximum weight it could hold without sinkin g it too, then it just depends on the people there, some may go as far as killing or fighting to save themselves & some my sacrifice themselves for others, or you may have a good group who figures something out that could save all, or you may be lucky enough to have Macgiver in your boat or chuck norris & they will fix whatever the problem is.

  • 1 decade ago

    You don't choose. You take everyone onto the lifeboat. If an individual volunteers not to come aboard for the sake of the others, that is one thing. But no-one has the right to make that decision for anyone else, and to do so would be murder.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    These aren't moral dilemmas, they are ethical dilemmas. Morality is the quality which says, it's wrong to kill people. But morality has no place in these questions - the situations are straight out of Philosophy 101. The dilemma is not, who are you going to kill, but who is it right to save?

    As we observe in daily life, sometimes morals and ethics are at odds. Morally, I think it's good to help poor people. Ethically, I'd get fired if I rented an apartment to people with no income, because I wouldn't be doing what is right according to my job, my boss, and common sense.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The boat may not sink all the way. And people can take turns hanging on to the sides of the lifeboat.

  • Pops
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    20 in the lifeboat and 2 attached to or hangling on to it so they won't get lost. This can be rotated as needed. Pops

    Source(s): My thoughts
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