17th April 2024

Reply To: Is Morality Natural? (Year 2)

ENGLISH FOR PSYCHOLOGY Forums Morality Is Morality Natural? (Year 2) Reply To: Is Morality Natural? (Year 2)


I find it quite fascinating, that (according to Marc D. Hauser) our moral values are basicly universal and one’s religious background and upbringing doesn’t pay a key role in the decision process. Especially the fact that the role of emotions is marginal.
But, as the author mentioned, and what I think is a key difference, are the circumstances, under which the decision is being made.
It is a lot easier to hypothesize about a made up scenario, compared to making an actual decision, that may have a real impact on somebody’s life.
The characters from the film were facing a real dillema: kill the terrists, but sacrifice little girls’s life in the process or save the girl and let the terrorists possibly commit great atrocities, that may end up in great human losses.
I watched the film before reading the text, so I really didn’t have the full context or prior knowledge, but the stituation in “Eye in the sky” reminded me of the famous Trolley Problem, which general form is as such:
“There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options:

a.Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
b.Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person

Counterterrorists were facing a simmilar situation. However, as I mentioned, it is a lot easier to solve a hypothetical problem, rather than face a real one. This is where the emotions come into play. The time pressure also wasn’t very helpful to our protagonists.
Because what excuses you from sacrificing one’s life to save the other people? How can you possibly decide if that one person’s life is less valuable than those other people’s existance? What if, instead of the little girl, there was, let’s say an important political figure or a great scientist? Will you factor in their potential usefulness?
It’s difficult, because it is difficult (or even impossible) to detemnine the “more ethical option”, the right thing to do.
I really don’t know, what I would do in our protagonists’ place. Especially under such great pressure.