Choose one of the following topics and write an essay response.
Choice A: Consider the following hypothetical scenario. Explain what an act utilitarian would say about this scenario, and what a Kantian would say about this scenario. Ultimately, what do you think is the right thing to do in this scenario, and why? Be sure your essays defends a clear thesis, and support your answer with reasons.
Scenario: You are hiding in an attic with 30 other people from your town, trying to stay concealed from invading soldiers who are sweeping through your town. In your arms is your young baby, who has a bad cold. Just as soldiers are about to enter the house where you are hiding, your baby begins to cry very loudly. You have absolutely no way to silence your baby except by covering her mouth, but you know that if you cover her mouth she will be unable to breathe (due to her bad cold) and that she will almost certainly suffocate and die. If you don’t cover her mouth, you know that the soldiers will almost certainly hear her crying and discover you and the other villagers hiding in the attic, and you know that they will execute every single one of you. You have no other options. What should you do?
Choice B: Consider the case of Otto Warmbier, a college student who was accused of stealing a sign from a hotel, served over 17 months of a 15 year sentence of hard labor for his alleged crime (see discussion of the case here: ). He was then returned to the United States in a comatose state, and then died shortly after. Evaluate and discuss his sentence and punishment from the standpoint of Ethical Relativism and at least one other moral theory (Utilitarianism, etc). Did Warmbier deserve to lose his life for his crime (assuming that he did indeed steal a sign, about which there is some dispute)? Be sure your discussion defends a clear thesis/answer that draws on the moral theories you discuss.
Guidelines: Your discussion post should be well written and structured (like a short essay – defend a clear thesis, have more than one paragraph supporting your thesis and explaining the ideas), and be at least 300 words long (and you are encouraged to write something longer for a top grade). Then post replies to at least two of your fellow students, discussing the arguments they have presented (at least one reply should be to a student who wrote on a different topic from yours). Replies should be substantive (more than just “I agree” or “I disagree”), and should advance the conversation.
Due by the end of the day on Monday, April 4th. Replies to fellow students should be posted by the end of the day on Wednesday April 6th.