Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 01 “THE MORAL SIDE OF MURDER”

Funding for this program is provided by: Additional funding provided by This is a course about Justice and we begin
with a story suppose you’re the driver of a trolley car, and your trolley car is hurdling down
the track at sixty miles an hour and at the end of the track you notice
five workers working on the track you tried to stop but you can’t your brakes don’t work you feel desperate because you know that if you crash into these five workers they will all die let’s assume you know that for sure and so you feel helpless until you notice that there is off to the right a side track at the end of that track there’s one worker working on track you’re steering wheel works so you can turn the trolley car if you want to onto this side track killing the one but sparing the five. Here’s our first question what’s the right thing to do? What would you do? Let’s take a poll, how many would turn the trolley car onto the side track? How many wouldn’t? How many would go straight ahead keep your hands up, those of you who’d go straight
ahead. A handful of people would, the vast majority
would turn let’s hear first now we need to begin to investigate the reasons
why you think it’s the right thing to do. Let’s begin with
those in the majority, who would turn to go onto side track? Why would you do it, what would be your reason? Who’s willing to volunteer a reason? Go ahead, stand up. Because it can’t be right to kill five people
when you can only kill one person instead. it wouldn’t be right to kill five if you could kill one person instead that’s a good reason that’s a good reason who else? does everybody agree with that reason? go ahead. Well I was thinking it was the same reason it was on 9/11 we regard the people who flew the plane who flew the plane into the Pennsylvania field as heroes because they chose to kill the people on the
plane and not kill more people in big buildings. So the principle there was the same on 9/11 it’s tragic circumstance, but better to kill one so that five can
live is that the reason most of you have, those
of you who would turn, yes? Let’s hear now from those in the minority those who wouldn’t turn. Well I think that same type of mentality that
justifies genocide and totalitarianism in order to save one type of race you
wipe out the other. so what would you do in this case? You would to avoid the horrors of genocide you would crash into the five and kill them? Presumably yes. okay who else? That’s a brave answer, thank you. Let’s consider another trolley car case and see whether those of you in the majority want to adhere to the principle, better that one should die so that five
should live. This time you’re not the driver of the trolley
car, you’re an onlooker standing on a bridge overlooking a trolley car track and down the track comes a trolley car at the end of the track are five workers the brakes don’t work the trolley car is about to careen into the
five and kill them and now you’re not the driver you really feel helpless until you notice standing next to you leaning over the bridge is it very fat man. And you could give him a shove he would fall over the bridge onto the track right in the way of the trolley car he would die but he would spare the five. Now, how many would push the fat man over the bridge? Raise your hand. How many wouldn’t? Most people wouldn’t. Here’s the obvious question, what became of the principle better to save five lives even if it means
sacrificing one, what became of the principal that almost everyone endorsed in the first case I need to hear from someone who was in the
majority in both cases is how do you explain the difference between
the two? The second one I guess involves an
active choice of pushing a person and down which I guess that that person himself would otherwise not
have been involved in the situation at all and so to choose on his behalf I guess to involve him in something that he otherwise would
have this escaped is I guess more than what you have in the first case where the three parties, the driver and the two sets of workers are already I guess in this situation. but the guy working, the one on the track
off to the side he didn’t choose to sacrifice his life any
more than the fat guy did, did he? That’s true, but he was on the tracks. this guy was on the bridge. Go ahead, you can come back if you want. Alright, it’s a hard question but you did well you did very well it’s a
hard question. who else can find a way of reconciling the reaction of the majority in these two cases? Yes? Well I guess in the first case where you have the one worker and the five it’s a choice between those two, and you have to make a certain choice and people are going to die
because of the trolley car not necessarily because of your direct actions.
The trolley car is a runway, thing and you need to make in a split second choice whereas pushing the fat man over is an actual
act of murder on your part you have control over that whereas you may not have control over the trolley car. So I think that it’s a slightly different situation. Alright who has a reply? Is that, who has a reply to that?
no that was good, who has a way who wants to reply? Is that a way out of this? I don’t think that’s a very good reason because
you choose either way you have to choose who dies
because you either choose to turn and kill a person which is an act of conscious thought to turn, or you choose to push the fat man over which is also an active conscious action so either way you’re making a choice. Do you want to reply? Well I’m not really sure that that’s the case, it just still
seems kind of different, the act of actually pushing someone over onto the tracks and killing them, you are actually killing him yourself, you’re pushing
him with your own hands you’re pushing and that’s different than steering something that is going to
cause death into another…you know it doesn’t really sound right saying it now when I’m up here. No that’s good, what’s your name? Andrew. Andrew and let me ask you this question Andrew, suppose standing on the bridge next to the fat man I didn’t have to push him, suppose he was standing over a trap door that I could open by turning
a steering wheel like that would you turn it? For some reason that still just seems more more wrong. I mean maybe if you just accidentally like leaned into
this steering wheel or something like that or but, or say that the car is hurdling towards a switch that will drop the trap then I could agree with that. Fair enough, it still seems wrong in a way that it doesn’t seem wrong in the
first case to turn, you say An in another way, I mean in the first situation you’re
involved directly with the situation in the second one you’re an onlooker as well. So you have the choice of becoming involved
or not by pushing the fat man. Let’s forget for the moment about this case, that’s good, but let’s imagine a different case. This time
your doctor in an emergency room and six patients come to you they’ve been in a terrible trolley car wreck five of them sustained moderate injuries one
is severely injured you could spend all day caring for the one severely injured victim, but in that time the five would die, or you could
look after the five, restore them to health, but during that time the one severely injured person would die. How many would save the five now as the doctor? How many would save the one? Very few people, just a handful of people. Same reason I assume, one life versus five. Now consider another doctor case this time you’re a transplant surgeon and you have five patients each in desperate
need of an organ transplant in order to survive on needs a heart one a lung, one a kidney, one a liver and the fifth a pancreas. And you have no organ donors you are about to see you them die and then it occurs to you that in the next room there’s a healthy guy who came in for a checkup. and he is you like that and he’s taking a nap you could go in very quietly yank out the five organs, that person would
die but you can save the five. How many would do it? Anyone? How many? Put your hands up if you would do it. Anyone in the balcony? You would? Be careful don’t lean over too much How many wouldn’t? All right. What do you say, speak up in the balcony, you
who would yank out the organs, why? I’d actually like to explore slightly alternate possibility of just taking the one of the five he needs an organ who dies first and using their four healthy organs to save the other
four That’s a pretty good idea. That’s a great idea except for the fact that you just wrecked the philosophical point. Let’s step back from these stories and these arguments to notice a couple of things about the way the arguments have began to unfold. Certain moral principles have already begun to emerge from the discussions we’ve had and let’s consider what those moral principles look like the first moral principle that emerged from the
discussion said that the right thing to do the moral thing to do depends on the consequences that will result from your action at the end of the day better that five should live even if one must die. That’s an example of consequentialist moral reasoning. consequentialist moral reasoning locates morality
in the consequences of an act. In the state of the world that will result from the thing you do but then we went a little further, we considered
those other cases and people weren’t so sure about consequentialist moral reasoning when people hesitated to push the fat man over the bridge or to yank out the organs of the innocent patient people gestured towards reasons having to do with the intrinsic quality of the act itself. Consequences be what they may. People were reluctant people thought it was just wrong categorically wrong to kill a person an innocent person even for the sake of saving five lives, at least these people thought that in the second version of each story we reconsidered so this points a second categorical way of thinking about moral reasoning categorical moral reasoning locates morality
in certain absolute moral requirements in certain categorical duties and rights regardless of the consequences. We’re going to explore in the days and weeks to come the contrast
between consequentialist and categorical moral principles. The most influential example of consequential moral reasoning is utilitarianism,
a doctrine invented by Jeremy Bentham, the eighteenth century English
political philosopher. The most important philosopher of categorical moral reasoning is the eighteenth century German philosopher
Emmanuel Kant. So we will look at those two different modes of moral reasoning assess them and also consider others. If you look at the syllabus, you’ll notice
that we read a number of great and famous books. Books by Aristotle John Locke Emanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and others. You’ll notice too from the syllabus that
we don’t only read these books, we also all take up contemporary political and legal controversies
that raise philosophical questions. We will debate equality and inequality, affirmative action, free speech versus hate speech, same sex marriage, military conscription, a range of practical questions, why not just to enliven these abstract and distant
books but to make clear to bring out what’s at stake
in our everyday lives including our political lives, for philosophy. So we will read these books and we will debate these issues and we’ll see how each informs and
illuminates the other. This may sound appealing enough but here I have to issue a warning, and the warning is this to read these books in this way, as an exercise in self-knowledge, to read them in this way carry certain risks risks that are both personal and political, risks that every student of political philosophy have known. These risks spring from that fact that philosophy teaches us and unsettles us by confronting us with what we already know. There’s an irony the difficulty of this course consists in the
fact that it teaches what you already know. It works by taking what we know from familiar unquestioned settings, and making it strange. That’s how those examples worked worked the hypotheticals with which we began with their
mix of playfulness and sobriety. it’s also how these philosophical books work. Philosophy estranges us from the familiar not by supplying new information but by inviting and provoking a new way of seeing but, and here’s the risk, once the familiar turns strange, it’s never quite the same again. Self-knowledge is like lost innocence, however unsettling you find it, it can never be unthought or unknown what makes this enterprise difficult but also riveting, is that moral and political philosophy is a story and you don’t know where this story will lead
but what you do know is that the story is about you. Those are the personal risks, now what of the political risks. one way of introducing of course like this would be to promise you that by reading these books and debating these issues you will become a better more responsible
citizen. You will examine the presuppositions of
public policy, you will hone your political judgment you’ll become a more effective participant
in public affairs but this would be a partial and misleading promise political philosophy for the most part hasn’t
worked that way. You have to allow for the possibility that political philosophy may make you a worse
citizen rather than a better one or at least a worse citizen before it makes you a better one and that’s because philosophy is a distancing even debilitating activity And you see this going back to Socrates there’s a dialogue, the Gorgias in which one of Socrates’ friends Calicles tries to talk him out of philosophizing. calicles tells Socrates philosophy is a pretty toy if one indulges in it with moderation at
the right time of life but if one pursues it further than one should
it is absolute ruin. Take my advice calicles says, abandon argument learn the accomplishments of active
life, take for your models not those people who spend
their time on these petty quibbles, but those who have a good livelihood and reputation and many other blessings. So Calicles is really saying to Socrates quit philosophizing, get real go to business school and calicles did have a point he had a point because philosophy distances us from conventions from established assumptions and from settled beliefs. those are the risks, personal and political and in the face of these risks there is a
characteristic evasion, the name of the evasion is skepticism. It’s
the idea well it goes something like this we didn’t resolve, once and for all, either the cases or the principles we were
arguing when we began and if Aristotle and Locke and Kant and Mill haven’t solved these questions
after all of these years who are we to think that we here in Sanders Theatre over the
course a semester can resolve them and so maybe it’s just a matter of each person having his or her own principles
and there’s nothing more to be said about it no way of reasoning that’s the evasion. The evasion of skepticism to which I would offer the following reply: it’s true these questions have been debated for a very
long time but the very fact that they have reoccurred and persisted may suggest that though they’re impossible in one sense their unavoidable in another and the reason they’re unavoidable the reason they’re inescapable is that we live
some answer to these questions every day. So skepticism, just throwing up their hands
and giving up on moral reflection, is no solution Emanuel Kant described very well the problem with skepticism
when he wrote skepticism is a resting place for human reason where it can reflect upon its dogmatic wanderings but it is no dwelling place for permanent settlement. Simply to acquiesce in skepticism, Kant wrote, can never suffice to overcome the restless
of reason. I’ve tried to suggest through theses stories
and these arguments some sense of the risks and temptations of the perils and the possibilities I would
simply conclude by saying that the aim of this course is to awaken the restlessness of reason and to see where it might lead thank you very much. Like, in a situation that desperate, you have to do what you have to do to survive.
You have to do what you have to do you? You’ve gotta do What you gotta do. pretty much, If you’ve been going nineteen days without any food someone has to take the sacrifice, someone has to make the sacrifice
and people can survive. Alright that’s good, what’s your name? Marcus. Marcus, what do you say to Marcus? Last time we started out last time with some stores with some moral dilemmas about trolley cars and about doctors and healthy patients vulnerable to being victims of organ transplantation we noticed two things about the arguments we had one had to do with the way we were arguing it began with our judgments in particular cases we tried to articulate the reasons or the
principles lying behind our judgments and then confronted with a new case we found ourselves re-examining those principles revising each in the light of the other and we noticed the built-in pressure to try
to bring into alignment our judgments about particular cases and the principles we would endorse on reflection we also noticed something about the substance
of the arguments that emerged from the discussion. We noticed that sometimes we were tempted
to locate the morality of an act in the consequences in the results, in the state of the world that
it brought about. We called is consequentialist moral reason. But we also noticed that in some cases we weren’t swayed only by the results sometimes, many of us felt, that not just consequences but also the intrinsic
quality or character of the act matters morally. Some people argued that there are certain things
that are just categorically wrong even if they bring about a good result even if they save five people at the cost of one life. So we contrasted consequentialist moral principles with categorical ones. Today and in the next few days we will begin to examine one of the
most influential versions of consequentialist moral theory and that’s the philosophy of utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham, the eighteenth century English political philosopher gave first the first clear systematic expression to the utilitarian moral theory. And Bentham’s idea, his essential idea is a very simple one with a lot of morally intuitive appeal. Bentham’s idea is the following the right thing to do the just thing to do it’s to maximize utility. What did he mean by utility? He meant by utility the balance of pleasure over pain, happiness over suffering. Here’s how we arrived at the principle of maximizing utility. He started out by observing that all of us all human beings are governed by two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. We human beings like pleasure and dislike pain and so we should base morality whether we are thinking of what to do in our own lives or whether as legislators or citizens we are thinking about what the law should be, the right thing to do individually or collectively is to maximize, act in a way that maximizes the overall level of happiness. Bentham’s utilitarianism is sometimes summed
up with the slogan the greatest good for the greatest number. With this basic principle of utility on hand, let’s begin to test it and to examine it by turning to another case another story but this time not a hypothetical story, a real-life story the case of the Queen versus Dudley and Stephens. This was a nineteenth-century British law case that’s famous and much debated in law schools. Here’s what happened in the case I’ll summarize the story and then I want to hear how you would rule imagining that you are the jury. A newspaper account of the time described the background: A sadder story of disaster at sea was never told than that of the survivors of the yacht Mignonette. The ship foundered in the south Atlantic thirteen hundred miles from the cape there were four in the crew, Dudley was the captain Stephens was the first mate Brooks was a sailor, all men of excellent character, or so the newspaper account tells us. The fourth crew member was the cabin boy, Richard Parker seventeen years old. He was an orphan he had no family and he was on his first long voyage at sea. He went, the news account tells us, rather against the advice of his friends. He went in the hopefulness of youthful ambition thinking the journey would make a man of him. Sadly it was not to be, the facts of the case were not in dispute, a wave hit the ship and the Mignonette went down. The four crew members escaped to a lifeboat the only food they had were two cans of preserved turnips no fresh water for the first three days they ate nothing on the fourth day that opened one of the cans of
turnips and ate it. The next day they caught a turtle together with the other can of turnips the turtle enabled them to subsist for the next few days and then for eight days they had nothing no food no water. Imagine yourself in a situation like that what would you do? Here’s what they did by now the cabin boy Parker is lying at the
bottom of the lifeboat in a corner because he had drunk sea water against the advice of the others and he had become ill and he appeared to be dying so on the nineteenth day Dudley, the captain, suggested that they should all have a lottery. That they should all draw lots to see who would die to save the rest. Brooks refused he didn’t like the lottery idea we don’t know whether this was because he didn’t want to take that chance
or because he believed in categorical moral principles but in any case no lots were drawn. The next day there was still no ship in sight so a Dudley told Brooks to avert his gaze and he motioned to Stephens that the boy Parker had better be killed. Dudley offered a prayer he told a the boy his time had come and he killed him with a pen knife stabbing him in the jugular vein. Brooks emerged from his conscientious objection
to share in the gruesome bounty. For four days the three of them fed on the body and blood
of the cabin boy. True story. And then they were rescued. Dudley describes their rescue in his diary with staggering euphemism, quote: “on the twenty fourth day as we were having our breakfast a ship appeared at last.” The three survivors were picked up by a German ship.
They were taken back to Falmouth in England where they were arrested and tried Brooks turned state’s witness Dudley and Stephens went to trial. They didn’t
dispute the facts they claimed they had acted out of necessity that was their defense they argued in effect better that one should die so that three could survive the prosecutor wasn’t swayed by that argument he said murder is murder and so the case went to trial. Now imagine
you are the jury and just to simplify the discussion put aside the question of law, and let’s assume that you as the jury are charged with deciding whether what they did was morally permissible or not. How many would vote not guilty, that what they did was morally
permissible? And how many would vote guilty what they did was morally wrong? A pretty sizable majority. Now let’s see what people’s reasons are, and let me
begin with those who are in the minority. Let’s hear first from the defense of Dudley and Stephens. Why would you morally exonerate them? What are your reasons? I think it’s I think it is morally reprehensible but I think that there’s a distinction between
what’s morally reprehensible what makes someone legally accountable in other words the night as the judge said
what’s always moral isn’t necessarily against the law and while I don’t think that
necessity justifies theft or murder any illegal act, at some point your degree of necessity does
in fact exonerate you form any guilt. ok. other defenders, other voices for the defense? Moral justifications for what they did? yes, thank you I just feel like in a situation that desperate you have to do
what you have to do to survive. You have to do what you have to do ya, you gotta do what you gotta do, pretty much. If you’ve been going nineteen days without any food you know someone just has to take the sacrifice
has to make sacrifices and people can survive and furthermore from that let’s say they survived and then they become productive
members of society who go home and then start like a million charity organizations and this and that and this and that,
I mean they benefit everybody in the end so I mean I don’t know what they did afterwards, I mean
they might have gone on and killed more people but whatever. what? what if they were going home and turned out to be assassins? What if they were going home and turned out to be assassins? You would want to know who they assassinated. That’s true too, that’s fair I would wanna know who they assassinated. alright that’s good, what’s your name? Marcus. We’ve heard a defense a couple voices for the defense now we need to hear from the prosecution most people think what they did was wrong, why? One of the first things that I was thinking was, oh well if they
haven’t been eating for a really long time, maybe then they’re mentally affected that could be used for the defense, a possible argument that oh, that they weren’t in a proper state of mind, they were making decisions that they otherwise wouldn’t be making, and if that’s an
appealing argument that you have to be in an altered mindset to do something
like that it suggests that people who find that argument convincing do you think that they’re acting immorally.
But I want to know what you think you’re defending you k
you voted to convict right? yeah
I don’t think that they acted in morally appropriate way. And why not? What do you say,
Here’s Marcus he just defended them, he said, you heard what he said, yes I did yes that you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do in a
case like that. What do you say to Marcus? They didn’t, that there is no situation that would allow human
beings to take the idea of fate or the other people’s
lives into their own hands that we don’t have that kind of power. Good, okay thanks you, and what’s your name? Britt? okay. who else? What do you say? Stand up I’m wondering if Dudley and Stephens had asked for Richard Parker’s
consent in, you know, dying, if that would would that exonerate them from an act of murder, and if so is that still morally
justifiable? That’s interesting, alright consent, now hang on, what’s your name?
Kathleen. Kathleen says suppose so what would that scenario look like? so in the story Dudley is there, pen knife in hand, but instead of the prayer or before the prayer, he says, Parker, would you mind we’re desperately hungry, as Marcus empathizes with we’re desperately hungry you’re not going to last long anyhow, you can be a martyr, would you be a martyr how about it Parker? Then, then then what do you think, would
be morally justified then? Suppose Parker in his semi-stupor says okay I don’t think it’ll be morally justifiable but I’m wondering.
Even then, even then it wouldn’t be? No You don’t think that even with consent it would be morally justified. Are there people who think who want to take up Kathleen’s consent idea and who think that that would make it
morally justified? Raise your hand if it would if you think it would. That’s very interesting Why would consent make a moral difference? Why would it? Well I just think that if he was making his own original
idea and it was his idea to start with then that would be the only situation in which I
would see it being appropriate in anyway

because that way you couldn’t make the argument
that he was pressured you know it’s three to one or whatever the ratio was, and I think that if he was making a decision to give his life
then he took on the agency to sacrifice himself which some
people might see as admirable and other people might disagree with that decision. So if he came up with the idea that’s the only kind of consent we could have
confidence in morally, then it would be okay otherwise it would be kind of coerced consent under the circumstances you think. Is there anyone who thinks that the even the consent of Parker would not justify their killing him? Who thinks that? Yes, tell us why, stand up I think that Parker would be killed with the hope that the other crew members
would be rescued so there’s no definite reason that he should
be killed because you don’t know when they’re going to get rescued so if you kill him you’re killing him
in vain do you keep killing a crew member until you’re rescued and then you’re
left with no one? because someone’s going to die eventually? Well the moral logic of the situation seems to
be that. That they would keep on picking off the weakest maybe, one by
one, until they were rescued and in this case luckily when three at least were still alive. Now if if Parker did give his consent would it be all right do you think or not? No, it still wouldn’t be right. Tell us why wouldn’t be all right. First of all, cannibalism, I believe is morally incorrect so you shouldn’t be eating a human anyway. So cannibalism is morally objectionable outside so then even in the scenario of waiting until someone died still it would be objectionable. Yes, to me personally I feel like of it all depends on one’s personal morals, like we can’t just, like this is just my opinion of course other people are going to disagree. Well let’s see, let’s hear what their disagreements
are and then we’ll see if they have reasons that can persuade you or not. Let’s try that Let’s now is there someone who can explain, those of you who are tempted
by consent can you explain why consent makes such a moral difference, what about the lottery idea does that count as consent. Remember at
the beginning Dudley proposed a lottery suppose that they had agreed to a lottery then how many would then say it was all right. Say there was a lottery, cabin boy lost, and the rest of the story unfolded. How
many people would say it’s morally permissible? So the numbers are rising if we add a lottery,
let’s hear from one of you for whom the lottery would make a moral difference why would it? I think the essential element, in my mind that makes it a crime is the idea that they decided at some point that
their lives were more important than his, and that I mean that’s kind of the basis for really
any crime right? It’s like my needs, my desire is a more important than yours
and mine take precedent and if they had done a lottery were everyone
consented that someone should die and it’s sort of like they’re all sacrificing
themselves, to save the rest, Then it would be all right? A little grotesque but, But morally permissible? Yes. what’s your name? Matt. so, Matt for you what bothers you is not the cannibalism, but the lack of due process. I guess you could say that And can someone who agrees with Matt say a little bit more about why a lottery would make it, in your view, morally permissible. The way I understood it originally was that that was the
whole issue is that the cabin boy was never consulted about whether or not it something was going
to happen to him even though with the original lottery whether or not he would be a part of that
it was just decided that he was the one that was going to die.
Yes that’s what happened in the actual case but if there were a lottery and they all agreed
to the procedure you think that would be okay? Right, because everyone knows that there’s gonna be
a death whereas you know the cabin boy didn’t know that this discussion was even happening there was no you know forewarning for him to know that hey, I may be the one
that’s dying. Okay, now suppose the everyone agrees to the lottery they have the lottery the cabin
boy loses any changes his mind. You’ve already decided, it’s like a verbal contract, you can’t go back
on that. You’ve decided the decision was made you know if you know you’re dying for the
reason for at others to live, you would, you know if the someone else had died you know that you would consume them, so But then he could say I know, but I lost. I just think that that’s the whole moral issue is that there was
no consulting of the cabin boy and that that’s what makes it the most horrible is that he had no idea what was even
going on, that if he had known what was going on it would be a bit more understandable. Alright, good, now I want to hear so there’s some who think it’s morally permissible but only about twenty percent, led by Marcus, then there are some who say the real problem here is the lack of consent whether the lack of consent to a lottery to
a fair procedure or Kathleen’s idea, lack of consent at the moment of death and if we add consent then more people are willing to consider the sacrifice morally justified. I want to hear now finally from those of you who think even with consent even with a lottery even with a final murmur of consent from Parker at the very last moment it would still be wrong and why would it be wrong that’s what I want to hear. well the whole time I’ve been leaning towards the categorical moral reasoning and I think that there’s a possibility I’d be okay with the
idea of the lottery and then loser taking into their own hands to kill themselves so there wouldn’t be an act of murder but
I still think that even that way it’s coerced and also I don’t
think that there’s any remorse like in Dudley’s diary we’re getting our breakfast it seems as though he’s just sort of like, oh, you know that whole idea of not valuing someone else’s life so that makes me feel like I have to take the categorical stance. You want to throw the
book at him. when he lacks remorse or a sense of having done
anything wrong. Right. Alright, good so are there any other defenders who who say it’s just categorically wrong, with or without consent, yes
stand up. Why? I think undoubtedly the way our society is shaped, murder
is murder murder is murder and every way our society looks down at it in the same
light and I don’t think it’s any different in any case. Good now let
me ask you a question, there were three lives at stake versus one, the one, that the cabin boy, he had no family he had no dependents, these other three had families back home
in England they had dependents they had wives and children think back to Bentham, Bentham says we have to consider the welfare, the utility, the happiness of everybody. We have to add it all up so it’s not just numbers three against one it’s also all of those people at home in fact the London newspaper at the time and popular opinion sympathized with them Dudley in Stephens and the paper said if they weren’t motivated by affection and concern for their loved ones at
home and dependents, surely they wouldn’t have done this. Yeah, and how is that any different from people on the corner trying to having the same desire to feed their family,
I don’t think it’s any different. I think in any case if I’m murdering you to advance my status, that’s murder and I think
that we should look at all of that in the same light. Instead of criminalizing certain activities and making certain things seem more
violent and savage when in that same case it’s all the same act and mentality that goes into the murder, a necessity
to feed their families. Suppose there weren’t three, supposed there were thirty, three hundred, one life to save three hundred or in more time, three thousand or suppose the stakes were even bigger. Suppose the stakes were even bigger I think it’s still the same deal. Do you think Bentham was wrong to say the right thing
to do is to add up the collected happiness, you think he’s
wrong about that? I don’t think he is wrong, but I think murder is murder in any case.
Well then Bentham has to be wrong if you’re right he’s wrong. okay then he’s wrong. Alright thank you, well done. Alright, let’s step back from this discussion and notice how many objections have we heard to what they did. we heard some defenses of what they did the defense has had to do with necessity the dire circumstance and, implicitly at least, the idea that numbers matter and not only numbers matter but the wider effects matter their families back home, their dependents Parker was an orphan, no one would miss him. so if you add up if you tried to calculate the balance of happiness and suffering you might have a case for saying what they did was the right thing then we heard at least three different types
of objections, we heard an objection that’s said what they did was categorically wrong, right here at the end categorically wrong. Murder is murder it’s always wrong even if it increases the overall happiness of society the categorical objection. But we still need to investigate why murder is categorically wrong. Is it because even cabin boys have certain fundamental rights? And if that’s the reason where do those rights come from if not from
some idea of the larger welfare or utility or happiness?
Question number one. Others said a lottery would make a difference a fair procedure, Matt said. And some people were swayed by that. That’s not a categorical objection exactly it’s saying everybody has to be counted as an equal even though, at the end of the day one can be sacrificed for the general welfare. That leaves us with another question to investigate, Why does agreement to certain procedure, even a fair procedure, justify whatever result flows from the operation of that procedure? Question number two. and question number three the basic idea of consent. Kathleen got us on to this. If the cabin boy had agreed himself and not under duress as was added then it would be all right to take his life
to save the rest. Even more people signed on to that idea but that raises a third philosophical question what is the moral work that consent does? Why does an act of consent make such a moral difference that an act that would be wrong, taking a life,
without consent is morally permissible with consent? To investigate those three questions we’re going to have to read some philosophers and starting next time we’re going to read Bentham, and John Stuart Mill, utilitarian philosophers. Don’t miss the chance to interact online with other viewers
of Justice join the conversation, take a pop quiz, watch lectures you’ve missed, and a lot more. Visit
www.justiceharvard.org. It’s the right thing to do. Funding for the program is provided by Additional funding provided by


  • The trolley problem. The first thing I learnt in philosophy.

  • Man this makes me wanna fill those admission forms 🙂

  • Excellent ! Very interesting !

  • I'm glad I end up here. I loved the way he present the lecture. Such a superb performance.

  • He is wrong ,cuese he has to be judge finally with any case

  • Plz hindi dubbed

  • Where can I get the curriculum for this to try and do the class?

  • ???☣️☢️????????????????⚓?⚓????????????????☣️☢️??? ⚓ prince phillip gregorious oulogh v. .

  • I will Try Hand Break

  • Life is too complex, I am lost. Light spread by Michael Sandel is like a Torch which is quite handy.
    Thank You!! Indeed very Grateful.

  • The reason why I would not push the fat man is because I would have to live with a crime of killing a person and a less important thing is that it won’t be good for my future
    I wound jump and save 5 men if I really must

  • China n Singapore only want money, no moral.

  • Brain storming……

  • Lisa Alley Campaign Speech
    Lisa Alley $200 Million Speech
    Lisa Alley Hires Harvard University
    Lisa Alley Hologram Approved
    Lisa Alley Microchip Codes Speech

  • Harvard? Isn’t that one of the Universities that has been taken over by cultural Marxism?

  • Would be a bummer if you hesitated too long and pushed the fat guy too late

  • Anyone has the name of the books the prof referred? I'd like to give it a reading

  • The irony of "One man's life" is worth 1000 peoples' lives? The lives lost at war, the counting of dead bodies, whether 1000, 2000, 3000 makes no difference to those who are dead!…Also, how do you morally choose which one to die and which one to stay alive? Also, how does the person that is tagged to die count those who stay alive?

  • Ask them who would abort a full term baby. Let's see the morality then.

  • So two group of people are standing on different sides of the road. Both groups are equally in danger. One group is made up of 5 people and the other one only 1. So since we are killing the stand alone person, we can assume 4 people were lucky enough not to stand there. If we are killing the 5 by sparing the one, then 4 people were not as lucky to be on that side of the road… As far as the moral principles, it would probably be different between Europe and the United States. We just ask different kinds of questions when it comes to morality. Raising a nation as future soldiers who are consenting on other peoples lives? The question of being the driver and having the right to kill somebody accidentally???

  • My college philosophy professor is also outstanding here in KCTCS

    I think this is about the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill

  • This is a large class

  • The fat man should have gone to the gym to avoid having had to be pushed. He then wouldn’t qualify for savior

  • Such a great professor

  • I remember Pom pomergrate juice

  • Love from India for this great lecture ??

  • What’s the dilemma called ? Thanks

  • Harvard is a racist organization that discriminates against Asian students.

  • I hope I'm forgiven for the trauma incident that I caused a few years back. If only I can turn back time and fix things maybe I wouldn't feel so bad. Love you honey!.. I pray to God blesses you with good health and healing..

  • My analysis is that even with the lottery and even with the consent, it would still be wrong.

  • Wao awesome thank u so much sir

  • Good for ba graduates i watched these in my 1st year of college. Now i have the book by sandels.

  • Stay FAR away from trolley cars.

  • I wonder if the professor knows all the students' names?

  • 237
    = 12

  • Sounds like the recap to Fate Zero with Kiritsugu aiming for world peace by killing all the evil people, only to have his ideal turns on against him when a scenario played out with the 1 boat was about to sink and stranded on the middle of the sea. You will save more lives the more you kill, so he chose to kill everybody on the boat but live just one. If he could chooses to kill his daughter and his wife to save 6 billion people. He would do that too. All of that was prognosticating a solution for world peace by killing the minority to save the majority. If you repeat that process indefinitely until there's only 1 person left, you will see how flawed this logic is but it's a very interesting thing to think about.

  • What if the one worker was replaced with the president? Would you still steer and save the five civilians or kill the president..?

  • I absolutely agree with their decision to kill and eat the cabin boy. The reality of the situation dictates a reversion to the more fundamental laws of nature: I.e. – Survival. Not "Survival of the fittest" but just plain old "survival". It's easy to look from the outside from the safety and luxury of society, and say "That was wrong" but imagine yourself in that position: you are literally starving to death and there is only one way to survive. What would you do in that situation? Die a moral death? Or eat and live? Should someone even be held accountable for a choice made in such a desperate situation? The fact that the 3 men returned home at all is evidence enough that they made the right decision.

  • ፱፩፩

  • Jordan Peterson: What's really real is that which affirms life and let's us survive. Its true, the truest truth we know.

    Shipwrecked survivors: Cabin boy looks good. Ain't that the truth.

  • Thanks Harvard it student and lifeluck,s you have to be and mind,s you have followed the but air my and your body it in and out who body powber big it Soler and Earthpowber my life so folo you are not the big one stdunt

  • Go on your own way

  • oh, it's the same scenario in " the good place "

  • I am now considered a big brain

  • Professor Sandel is a major player in the political sciences of the 21st century.

    His book "Justice" is to read immediately!

  • Is there any way on how I can get a copy of the syllabus? ?

  • Here inteligence ??️ the real mind education.

  • Lisa Alley Royal Campaign
    Heaven Gates Cathedral 10:00AM
    Clouds Of Heaven In Illinois State
    Harvard Halo State Witness Prize Winner
    Lisa Alley Trillionaire Speech

  • Lisa Alley Royal Campaign
    Heaven Gates Cathedral 10:00AM
    A War Broke Out In Heaven Sermon
    Heaven On Earth Sermon
    The Lord's Prayer Sermon

  • can we all wonder why on earth there are no other doctors in the third situation?

  • First , it's a great lecture to hear. I just start to see how Harvard goes I ended up seeing fully??.
    – I don't think killing a crew member is moral .
    – Because , consider yourself as a crew member u decided to kill one for sake of others. As soon as u kill him , when heart stop pumping suddenly u see a ship approaching to rescue all .
    – Now its fair to do that, do u think so . you have to value all life equally , you have to wait for the rescue
    – if paker had died naturally , now u can use him for survivality

  • I’d probably let the trolley cart go and claim that I was too panicked to think

  • 3:40 what was this kid trying to say? How does this relate to genocide?

  • You kill the five cause that was the design before you had a choice…

  • 之所以大部分人愿意改变轨道撞向一个人,而不愿意把一个胖子推下去救5个人的原因是,后者需要决策者承担过重的道德和法律负担,而前者并没有。

  • I would exonerate them because, they never disputed the facts, they told the whole truth, that itself for me is a determining factor that they dont like what they did and they are willing to be punished according to the law. It's very easy to conceal the body by throwing it in the water and tell nobody. It's an indicator that it is not done in malicious intent. And I'm going to make a pro hac vice ruling.

  • 16:09 he is wondering "me madarchod hu jo yaha aaya"

  • Does this trolly truck has horns? Use the horn and alarm the workers!

  • 12:33 Hey, I thought of the same !!!

  • We are talking extreme circumstances here this was not a choice this was an animalistic primal instinctual urge this came from a place that humans through progress and civility have been far removed from. It proves that primal instincts to act out of hunger and the need to survive is never too far from us. We are talking about 4 men who had spent significant time together who knew each other reaching a point of hunger so extreme they resort to attacking and eating the raw human flesh and drinking blood from the decaying body of someone they knew. This was not immoral nor murder. This was an animal attacking its prey and eating to survive after a long period of starvation and desperation. You can put man in clothes, in schools, in offices, even churches but without the grocery stores and the restaraunts on every corner it all goes to hell take a mans food and you won't find clothes, schools, offices or churches that will hold him so why would we even consider a court in a civilized society to judge an act that took place separate from or outside of civilization?

  • Consider 1: 5 situation …in track there were five men standing who were commoner / labourer/ political party workers n in other track President / Scientist was standing….whom you will choose to save?

  • Vi mozete I ostali da imate universiteta kolko ocete al nije to to.ima nesto preko toga.sve zavisi od boga alaha nekom da ne znanje I mudrost kao iskusenje. Mozda je ovo vama sve smijesno.al to je onda vas veliki problem.


  • 12:41 Thinking out of box…

    Isn't always good but I loved it!

  • the whole course is on edX in Harvard lectures under Justice, enjoy you all!

  • I would scream and yell my lungs off at those five workers and tell them to get the fucking out of the track until they heard me, and then I would carefully jumped out of the fucking trolley car and land on the ground because I don't want to fucking die.

  • As a third-person, I would say no! It's not morally justifiable. Because I want to be seen as a civilized human being, not a barbaric one. But I don't know about between them.

  • Always found this sort of argumentation nebulous. Maybe you need a moral conscience to be engaged by it

  • I hope that Michael Sandel is remembered with the likes of Kant and Rousseau etc. A living modern day philosophical giant!!!!

  • it's all about fast thinking and smart talking…

  • Our morals started off biological, then became memetic once language and reason came into the picture. Something as simple as a mother's innate urge to care for her child or a person's innate desire to live and be free of suffering would be the genesis of morality from a biological source. Once we had language and reason, it then became memetic. We created culture, traditions, laws, agreements and contracts to expand upon our innate biological morality. Reason and our innate desire to live caused us to ban murder, at least within the tribe. Reason and our innate desire for stability and security caused us to ban theft. As for where our innate desires came from, they came from natural selection. A species which desires to live without suffering and with security and stability will naturally out-compete a species that doesn't. No one has to teach you to want to live. It's part of your DNA and it's reason why you're here today.

  • Dude this was ten years ago. Im here thinking this was recent. Lol

  • Runaway trolley and you are an Asian conductor. On the track are 5 Mexicans and on another track 1 Asian. Do you swerve? Runaway trolley and you are an African conductor. On the track are 5 Norwegians and on the other 1 African. Do you swerve? Runaway trolley and you are a Mexican conductor. On the tracks are 5 Mexicans and 1 Danish worker. Do you swerve? The matrix is a malleable. You are a Christian minister as conductor. On the tracks are 5 gay men and on the other one Christian. Do you swerve? You are an Islamic conductor on a runaway trolley. On the tracks are 5 Moslems and the other 1 Christian. Do you swerve? You see who are … If the principle holds true you always swerve. Phenomena such as Kama Kazi pilots in WWII were new. The conductor is on a runaway trolley. On the track are 5 men. On another 1 man who is your son. Do you swerve? The most telling example. That one may be a relative. The others are not. Such BS. Biology.

  • So, meta!

  • There are six Sunnah of drinking water .
    1.First tell Bissmillah.
    2. Seeing the water and drink water.
    3. be seated then drink water .
    4. Use right hand for drinking water .
    5.drink water with three breaths.
    6. Finally tell Allhamdulillah.

    Our writing will be useful only if you comply

  • Thanks for giving me purpose to read Harvard books which have loads of content to help me with
    Conversing normally with people.
    Hypothetical questions will fuck you up and they're are entertaining.

    You will know who is who.

  • Upsc wale kitne hain idhr

  • 3:57 she already understood what is coming.?? Fast learner.


  • The captain of the Mignonette picked on the most helpless. Maybe he would chosen a child next if they had one. I'd hang him for that alone. You know what an old helpless person would be to this group of "students"? An easy mark.

  • All people swerve the trolley unless they have brain damage of some kind if all things are equal. If the conductor is Asian and all workers Asian etc you'll swerve. That's how Bentham arrived at the conclusion. Bentham was actually brilliant. The punks in this room think they are after equality when they group by age they are as guilty as any Klan member. Assholes…they have no a posteriori knowledge. They had no moral strategy when tested at all.

  • The philosophy of the people vs. The train car. And the people dying in the care of the doctor. What is suppose to happen with lack of choice, is the 5 people on the track should die or the people in need of transplant should die. What is suppose to happen vs. What YOU want to happen. It's all about conscience and feelings after your actions determines your morals based on the choice. Is it your fault the 5 people die? No. But it is your fault that the one person died. Lack of action is moral in all situations because in the end it's not your fault, only the trains brakes, and the peoples body parts failing. The men on the boat, martyr/consent is moral becuase of the mans choice. Killing innocence is murder, no matter the circumstance. Martyr/consent is choice of sacrifice. Choosing to do no action, it is never your fault personally, becuase it was suppose to happen.

  • I would rather not make the choice.

  • Thank you very much Harvard. Does Harvard University provides full-bright scholarships in PhD?

  • Can someone please explain me the reason that the gentlemen at 3:50 said for his choice

  • Everyday we kill millions of animal without any consent so I don't think that was an immoral act that Kevin was killed.
    When we start taking the life of others animal or no into consent we can start making decision for us also. – just a thought

  • I remember watching this 10 years ago when it came out and somehow it pop up now days…im old….

  • I enjoyed to listen of this suggest. It's very helpful to learn the new worlds from the letter coming up?

  • These ethical dilemmas rest entirely on the arbitrary, groundless assumption that human life is worth preserving. If human life has no inherent value, then preserving it is not obligatory, and thus there is no dilemma.

  • The whole debate seems to revolve around a Narcissist point of view. The two men in favour of cannibalism assumed the cabin boy was the least valuable amongst them. From an Empathetic point of view, each man should have considered if he was worth sacrificing for the others. Instead of drawing lots, they could have considered who amongst them was oldest, had lived a fuller life, and who had the least left to contribute to society. One could argue that starvation, dehydration and exposure had brought out the worst in these men, but they didn't start out like that and surely could have foreseen their predicament.

  • First of all, who's still watching in 2019?
    And who's got notes i could borrow!?

  • Very brain picking and interesting lectures.

  • I watched these 10 years ago, many times in between, and here I am again.

  • I hate how some students alter the facts and give different set of facts. Answer the question based on the facts given to you.

  • I am a working HR professional and recently decided to do law from correspondence and then I found this lectures on YouTube. Great stuff. Thank you so much for making it public.

  • Law, medical, and nursing students I address you in hopes of change to come. There has been an injustice and lack of duty around patient care for decades that needs to be addressed on many fronts. It is the issue of harm from the procedure called electroshock.

    Performed at leading hospitals to include HMO Kaiser Permanente. Procedure delivers up to 450 volts to the brain and greater. No FDA testing for safety or even effectiveness. No pre-market approval ever done on devices before the FDA. This involves decades of neglect around a protected population under the ADA. This also involves fraud at best by insurers that pay out billions annually on this unproven and untested procedure. Then the government often pays out a lifetime of disability payments secondary to TBI outcomes all aware of at miniumum.

    This is not only fraud and discrimination.  

    Used to be used only for severe depression, now used for many issues.  Used on our children, Veterans, and even women in pregnancy. This is harm and cover ups in the billions annually in US alone. 

    California courts have recently proven brain injuries at minimum from this procedure around a national product liability suit currently taking place. Electrical trauma impacts all bodily systems with damages that can evolve years out. Damages to evolve include CTE, ALS, and cardiac issues etc. Consent mentions only temporary memory loss expected to resolve in six weeks and the typical anesthesia risks. We are not warned of actual structural brain changes that result from this documented in their own research. We are not warned that bilateral ECT impacts our brain stems where our vital functions exist such as blood pressure and heart rate. 

    There are medical malpractice firms also interviewing for suits around damages and two suits filed against the FDA. FDA recently declassified from experimental class to that of class 2 without any testing done before this lowering of classification. They also lowered this with an active lawsuit in place showing damages around devices. They do not test because even a layman would anticipate these damages with thought and many would be held accountable. 

    Law students your material risk of brain injury for starters missing from consents for medical malpractice. This is purely trauma. All trauma is based on MECHANISM. You have a known mechanism such as blunt force with the NFL injuries and you then have anticipated and known outcomes based on this. In our population it is electrical so you have a known and anticipated outcomes in ALL populations according to trauma medicine, to include those with mental health histories. This is impacting professionals now who are unable to resume their professions secondary to brain injuries from this. This includes, teachers, attorneys, doctors, nurses. We need representation to address these damages. Please write the papers around this and ask the questions in your clinicals. Doctors take an oath and are failing criminally to warn, protect, and not cause harm. You are now aware of this situation and problem and I ask you to act. Thank you. Please see ectjustice now owned by law firms participating in national product liability suit.


  • I'd just save myself the trouble of dealing with 4 more families and groups of friends by killing the one unless the five were alone. Kill less to save time wasted in more tragedy. But I don't think this is really a question of right and wrong since the situation is only giving us a choice at the moment of impact and peak responsibility without the factors that come to how this situation was reached in the first place. Is it our fault that the rail track was fully operational while there are people working on it? Is it our fault that the trolley malfunctioned or the who ever designed failed to develop a safeguard against errors that may arise? Don't know, it's sad either way or great depending on how much you value "numbers" and people.

  • 24:30

  • The best part was when the professor got the student to commit to his belief and say that Bentham was wrong. That student also raised the point that morality does not shift given circumstances or time. Will see if this is raised again. The student in the first part who said it was better to kill the five got a laugh, but I think his reasoning was also against Bentham – you can't have a just society that says it is ok to murder the minority for the good of the majority. One student gave hints of religious morality but I'm guessing could not come right out and say it.

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