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Ethical Dilemmas in Saving People's Lives

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What Do We Know?

Individual ethics is a category of philosophy that determines what an individual believes about morality and right and wrong. An individual values and morals, plus the social context in which his or her behavior occurs, determine whether behavior is regarded as ethical or unethical. In other word ethical behavior is behavior that conforms to individual beliefs and social norms about what’s right and good. Unethical behavior that conforms to individual beliefs and social norms about what’s is defined as wrong and bad business ethics is a term often used to refer to ethical or unethical behavior by employees and managers in the context of their jobs.

In the presented situation of a cruise ship wrecked at sea. There are 15 people survive in a lifeboat. However, the lifeboat can only support 9 people. If 6 people are not eliminated, everyone will die together. This was a hard decision for us to make but we need to choose 9 people who stay in the lifeboat and eliminate 6 people who cannot stay in the lifeboat. We need to make decision based on the criteria of what they would lend and provide for the lifeboat. It is not our ethical place to decide whose life is more valuable, for value is a question of opinion based on beliefs and emotions which are individual. No one person has right or wrong values and ethics; each person holds individual standards based in various aspects of their life that are influential. Many around us said they would choose by how the person would affect society back on dry and safe land, however we feel that a person will most likely be drastically changed by this traumatic situation, so there is no way to predict how they will react and act back on land.

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What Do We Need To Know?

The 15 people in the lifeboat include a family physician, a Baptist minister of, a prostitute, a career criminal, a paranoid schizophrenic, a salesman, a disabled boy, a married restaurant owner, an elementary school teacher, a nun, an unemployed man, and two pairs of married couple.

The first person is a 67 years old family physician who is addicted to drugs and his is a very nervous person, he has saved a lot of lives. The second person is a 35 years old minister of Baptist, he could enlighten the society and the suicide rates will drop. The third person is a 37 years old prostitute, her job is to satisfy male physiological needs, she is an excellent nurse. She saved a drowning child before. The next person is career criminal who is 37 years old and he is a murderer. He is the only person who capable of navigating the lifeboat.

The fifth person is a paranoid schizophrenic, 51 years old. He having important government secrets in his head the secrets that may be about the political of our country. So, it may jeopardize the national security. The sixth is a 51 years old salesman who is the member of the local Rotary Club. The next person is an 8 years old disabled boy since birth. He must rely on others because he cannot use his hands or do anything for himself and any others.

The first pair of married couple which is a man 27 years old, he has a history of alcohol abuse but he is a construction worker. He works for his family. A 23-year-old housewife who take care her two children at home they are the role model of their children. The tenth person is 45 years old married restaurant owner who has 3 children at home and his ability of cooking could be great. The eleventh person is a 32 years old elementary school teacher who is considered one of the best in the district and he can cultivate pillars of the nation. Followed by a 46 years old nun, the principal of a girl’s school she has the responsibility towards her students.

The thirteenth person is a 53 years old unemployed man. He is a former professor of literature. Due to the reason, he must be having some literature knowledge what is useful. He has a great sense of humor, and he showed courage in the last war and was in a prisoner camp for three years, he is a brave and wisdom man. The last married couple was deeply in love who is 24 years old man studying to be a pharmacist, he is an expert in medical and 21 years old housewife helps with a playgroup but they do not yet have children.

What Do We Need to Do Now?

Ethical dilemmas are situations that require a decision which one way or the other may be morally reprehensible. Making such decisions is hard, but is an exercise that must be performed as these sometimes concretize in the real world, often with little time to deliberate. They also are useful as a manner of introspection and reflection over one’s principles and ethics. Therefore, the people that we eliminate is a family physician, a Baptist minister, a paranoid schizophrenic, a salesman, a construction worker and a nun. As a physician he can help people to recovering but he is addicted to drugs and nervous. At our point of view, he is likely to bring negative impact to the people on the boat.

Besides, the nurse can do better than physician because it would only using the first aid kit on boat. The Baptist Minister, he is young and has a position of moderate responsibility but he does not have any skills to survive and help each other’s on the boat. Therefore, he may not be useful at all. Thirdly, a mental problem person who has government secrets in his head. He may be dangerous and jeopardize the other people on the boat. This will make the other people on the boat overwhelming with fear that he may be an important role in the political of our nation. A salesman, he is old and we do not think that he could give any support to the boat as he only expert in communication skill. He is just only having a good eloquence but action speak is louder than word.

Furthermore, he will be too chuffed with his life anyway. The construction worker, he had history of alcohol abused and this showed his misbehavior. He may not able to suffer in pressure in his life. At the same time, he also cannot do it in the long-term period on the boat. He cannot be calmed to face the problem. The nun, zero contribution on the boat and has no direct dependents. She did not have any strong point that can help all to survive.

The people we decided to save are the prostitute, career criminal, disabled boy, housewife, married restaurant owner, elementary school teacher, unemployed man and a married couple. The prostitute, she is also a nurse and she saved a drowning child. It means she have a personal strength to show when occur incident in the sea. She showed her ability to save a life under pressure. The next person we choose to save is the career criminal and also charged with murder.

Even though like this, he is the only person who capable of navigating the lifeboat and he should know that he is not possible to survive without other people. Besides, if he plans something bad in his mind, we think that he will do it before the incident happened. The third person that we would like to save is the disabled boy. The disabled boy will be point to others to have a strong will to survive. The emotional reasoning actually came first, with the justification of many personal connections to children and relations with ‘disabilities’. We simply found a way within our emotional drive to save the boy to make our reasoning logical. The next reason is because he will let the others look and take care of him as a goal to perform, which give them something to focus on besides their own distress.

The housewife with two children at home, we think that she supposed to know how to take care of other people on the boat and she needs to be go home for her two children. The married restaurant owner also needs to be home for his children and his leadership ability will be useful on the boat. We think that he has the ability to keep calm in any situation. The elementary school teacher, he is young and we think that he should have the ability of problem solving. The unemployed man, his humor can help to keep morale on the boat and he knows how to survive in tough situation. We think that he is the most useful person on the boat. Lastly, the married couple. They are still very and have a bright future. We believe that they can bring positive impact to the people on the boat.

We know our ethics through a combination of emotion, perspective, and logic. No ethical decision is made within one way of knowing, as they all connect and relate and weave together to form a personal ethical standard by which one makes a choice.

However, in the lifeboat example, we were forced to put aside that moral in favor of saving who we could, instead of killing those we chose to kill. Moral actions are possible in restrictive situations though they are limited and often unsatisfiable to their full extent.


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