Ethics Reflection Essay example

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There is a firefighter who is obligated to make a crucial decision. Upon arrival to a five-alarm blaze, the firefighter must make a life or death decision. There are two individuals unconscious in the burning building, and only one can be saved. One person is Dr. Rutland, a world-renowned pioneer in treating suicidal-depressives. The medication he has developed has helped thousands of patients already, and when perfected, will save many more. The other individual is Dr. Rutland’s secretary. Being that only one person is to survive, who should be saved?
     In order to decide what the moral or ethical decision would be in this situation, one may look the utilitarian philosophy of Mill. According to Mill,
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     In class, mention had been made about how the secretary, being female, can produce life, and therefore, she should be the one being saved. However, assuming half of the thousands of patients Dr. Rutland had saved are female, they are also, with the assistance of the medication, are able to reproduce life. Because more lives would be able to be reproduced, not only by the females who were on the medication, but as well as the men who were on the medication (it takes two to make a baby), Dr. Rutland should still be saved.
     Another argument presented in class was how although Dr. Rutland had invented or created the medication, he may not be the only physician working on perfecting the medication. And even if he is doing research, he may not be the one to perfect it. Just because thousands of lives had been saved in the past does not mean others will be saved in the future. A counterargument for this, however, is that it is a “what-if” argument. Because he has saved so many lives as of this point, chances are he will continue to do so, even if he does not perfect the medication. Also, there is no evidence that someone else is or has been working on this medication. Finally, even if there are others working on this medication, or if Dr. Rutland does not perfect the medication, if he dies in this fire, none of this will ever be known.

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