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A Moral Dilemma

Alphaesia

Maze Connoisseur
Op
Apr 21, 2014
1,560
847
The following is a moral dilemma I discovered recently and is very interesting. I thought the minr community might like it, since you seem to like philosophy. The following is all the information given, word-to-word.

You are passengers aboard a ship bound to New York. The ship has run aground and is sinking quickly. The temperature in the water -50 °C (-58°F). There are eight of you left to be placed in the lifeboats. There is only one lifeboat left and it only has space for five people. Overcrowding would result in the lifeboat capsizing and the certain death of all in it.

Your task is to decide who will receive places on the lifeboat, and who will go down with the ship. Each person must argue their case, then the group must come to a decision about who will stay behind.

NOTE: There is no "correct" answer to the riddle. Justify who you would save and why, using the (intentionally) limited snapshots of their character.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Steve, 44 years old:
A car salesman, husband and father of three. On a long weekend with his secretary, who he is having an affair with.

Cory, 7 years old:
Has a rare, but treatable form of leukemia. Is on his way to receive treatment that could save his life.

Peter, 79 years old:
A good man. He has just retired. Is meeting his wife in N.Y. where she is staying with their eldest child and visiting the grandchildren.

Bill, 48 years old:
The captain of the ship.

Rachael, 19 years old:
A stowaway. She ran away from home after a love affair with the gardener. She is three months pregnant but has no job, no money, no husband and nowhere to live.

Mary, 40 years old:
An ex-prostitute who now cares for orphans and homeless children.

Mark, 37 years old:
A priest who is on his way to America to start a new parish. He embezzled money from his last position.

Margaret, 33 years old:
A business woman on her way to conference.
 
Last edited:

DistinctMadness

Old Green
Greenie
Nov 2, 2013
664
271
I have already answered, but before you read my reasoning, I'd encourage you to answer on your own so you aren't influenced by my answer

So obviously Cory lives. He's not in immediate danger from the cancer and he is only 7. He could go on to do many great things.

The next obvious one is Mary. Not only does she care for orphans and homeless people, but she shows how anyone can change their life for the better.

Now it gets tricky

Bill and Margaret both have done nothing exceptionally noble or bad.

Steve and Rachael both have major flaws but also have children that would need their care.

Similarly Mark has a major flaw but he could help many people.

Peter's only flaw is that he is old. He's lived more of his life than the rest of them, despite his good heart.

Save Margaret because she is young and still has the potential to house children and such.

So thats 3/5

Save Steve. I'd say this because even if he was having an affair, not only might this event have changed his outlook, but he's helping to provide for the next generation, so in effect thats helping 4 people.

Right off the bat I'd remove Mark out of the 3 left. He has done wrong in the past and very well may continue to steal money. He also doesn't help everyone in the world equally. I say that speaking as a catholic.

Finally I'd save Bill. He's done nothing wrong and is still somewhat young.

Peter is old enough to accept that he will die and that he has helped the world in his own way.

Perhaps the most strange is why I chose not to save Rachael. Its not because of past wrong doings. Its because she has no real way to provide for her child. As it says she is without finacial support from anyone - ran from parents, no husband - and so even if she was to give birth, the child would be raised in poverty, which is never a good time.

To recap:
Saved Cory, Bill, Margaret, Steve, and Mary.
Killed Peter, Rachael and Mark.
 

Srentiln

minr op since Nov 2011
Op
Oct 28, 2013
1,991
1,052
My choices and reasoning for each individual

Steve, 44 years old - on life boat. No reasoning. There is an additional seat, the old man and priest would be unlikely to try to claim it, and the captain will not neglect his duty.

Cory, 7 years old - on life boat. He is a child who is deserving of a chance at life. As the youngest, he has had the least opportunity. Regardless of the outcome of the procedure, I say he has the most to lose by not being on it.

Peter, 79 years old - on ship. As a man who has lived a full life, I would say he should be thinking similarly to the priest. I believe he would be willing make way for others, especially with an unborn child in the equation.

Bill, 48 years old - on ship. As the captain, it is his duty to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew before his own.

Rachael, 19 years old - on life boat. No reasoning outside of Peter offering the position to her.

Mary, 40 years old - on life boat. No reasoning outside of Mark offering the position to her.


Mark, 37 years old - on ship. Regardless of his crimes, as a "man of god" he should be prepared to sacrifice his spot in order to save another. I believe that he would volunteer to stay behind if he knew the situation, especially with a person caring for the less fortunate in the equation.

Margaret, 33 years old - on life boat. No reasoning. There is an additional seat, the old man and priest would be unlikely to try to claim it, and the captain will not neglect his duty.
 

SleeknFoxy

Omnipotent Bat Overlord
Greenie
Jun 20, 2014
348
117
This is interesting, I wish we had more posts like this!

My choices:

  • Don't let Steve on the boat - It's best that the family remember what he stood for, than what he really was. (Best for the family, probably would result in divorce and leave children heartbroken if not dead)
  • Cory deserves to go on the boat. He needs to live out his life and beat leukemia. He is strong with his fight against it, and doesn't need to seem weak from a ship crash.
  • Peter goes on the boat. - I'm on the edge with Peter, but seeing as he is good he doesn't deserve to die without seeing his family properly before he goes.
  • Bill should stay on the sinking ship, to keep honorability and whatnot as the captain (Besides, it is partially his fault that the ship is sinking). Kill Bill
  • Rachael gets to go on the boat. She made mistakes and deserves a second chance. She hasn't lived out her life fully and it shouldn't end like this. Also she is pregnant.
  • Mary goes on the boat - Getting her life turned around is an incredible feat, and her hard work should not be put to shame. Also, she has kids to take care of.
  • Mark stays on the sinking ship. Maybe he deserves this for his wrongdoings (pretty extreme, though), but his presence provides hope for the cap'n and Steve as well. Also fullfilling his beliefs for the better of others and the want to join God in the afterlife.
  • Margaret gets to go on the boat, because she didn't want any of this to happen, and worked hard to get where she was today. Her effort cannot go to waste from a stupid ship crash.
 
Last edited:

MobotMan

Confuzzled Puzzlist
Greenie
Jun 5, 2016
57
44
Hmmm very hard:

Bill should definitely stay behind. He is the captain of the ship and is responsible for the situation everyone is in. The captain always goes down with the ship too...

Steve should also stay behind. He was already married, but in a relationship with his secretary. When he gets back home, he and his wife would likely have an argument ending in divorce, or causing them to hate each other for the rest of their lives. It would be better for his wife to not know so she can raise their children happily until adulthood.
*Question*: is the secretary on the ship?

Mark will stay on the ship. As a believer he should be willing to sacrifice himself for others who have done more in life, such as Mary, or those who are still young and innocent, such as Rachael or Cory. If he is Christian, he would also believe that he is relieving himself of his sins, and God would welcome him into Heaven.

Those were some tough decisions.

Cory: He is very young, and should continue on in life to beat his leukemia. He has done nothing wrong, and I can't imagine saying that a seven year old should die.
Where are his legal guardians?

Peter: He has possibly 10 or 20 years left in his life to love his grandchildren, and his own children for that matter. We don't want his children to become bad parents. This would spoil the celebration of his retirement too.

Rachael: Even though she and her kids do not have very good lives to go back to, she is innocent, and is pregnant with a baby. Maybe someone else on the ship could help her if she cannot afford to take care of her own child, like Mary.

Mary: She has totally turned her life around. All her hard work caring for children cannot go to waste. Some of those orphans probably love her, and her dying would not help their condition!

Margaret: She has done nothing wrong (but there is a lack of information about her life), and doesn't deserve to die. For all we know she could be the CEO of a famous company like Apple, Windows, Google, or Disney!

Others should definitely check out this thread.
 

MOUTHWEST

Custom title
Greenie
Oct 26, 2013
632
586
I have two answers, the first I suppose is more 'correct' for the thread:

Basically sren's, except for a switch between Rachael and Mark. It can be guessed that Mark is in it for more than just Je$u$, and he probably isn't ready to just give up his life yet. On a short scale, a parish is more beneficial to the community than a single parent with no ways of supporting herself and her child. This beneficiality is a key reason to keep Cory, as his rare condition is something that doctors would probably want to discover more about (and seem to be on the right track!)

And then there are those of you that expect more from me, here you go:

You are passengers aboard a ship bound to New York. The ship has run aground and is sinking quickly. The temperature in the water -50 °C (-58°F). There are eight of you left to be placed in the lifeboats.
You can't use a "you" in this problem without actually letting the person be a contestant. I should like to know which one of these eight I am. But I know that none of them are me, and yet they say there are only eight of us? For god's sake, there's nine of us! Hello, pay attention to me! These idiots don't wanna count or consider me, I'll leave them to their petty fucking dilemmas and take the raft by myself. Christ.

(I was quite prepared to read seven other descriptions and decide if my own life was worth saving among them. I think that would add another layer of depth to this and there'd be even more interesting responses.)

For those who read the second spoiler, sorry.
 

MeisterXehanort

The best user.
Greenie
Oct 27, 2013
1,062
491
I don't know about you guys but I can't possibly make this decision without more knowledge.

We have Bill, he's the captain of the ship. I have no conclusive information about what exactly happened aboard of this ship. Did Bill simply fuck it up? Did he make the other people on the ship play a game where they had to put their life on the line? Or did he do nothing and the ship just ran aground by the means of riddle construction magic?? We also don't know if Bill is the biggest asshole on earth, because for all I know that may just be the case. And I know I wouldn't want to share a lifeboat with Donald Trump himself.

Then there's Rachael. She fucked up in life, however, the way she is presented in the text implies that she is a bad person. Perhaps that really is the case, however, we never had a chance to study her character properly. Does she regret her life choices? Or is she simply a random person who does random things?

Really the only two people I see that are definitely expendable are Mark and Margaret.

I mean, honestly, who the fuck needs priests? Him being a priest tells us everything we ever would want to know about his personality etc. And I would not want to leave that man alone with a 7-Year old boy on a boat on the atlantic ocean, let me tell you.

And finally Margaret who's a slave of the corporate bourgeoisie. Maybe this entire riddle really only is a metaphor for the ultimate cleansing of society from capitalistic greed.

Of course, then it all adds up.

This would mean that, adding to Mark and Margaret, the third person we'd throw out would be Peter.

"A good man." This clearly infers that he has lived a wealthy life, bathing in the souls of the working class. If this new communist society was to succeed, we have to remove the people who think they are better than others, and forgive the poor people who were in the shadows of the society until now.

A 7-Year old boy who literally did nothing to deserve his punishment, Bill who probably just fucked it up, nothing he could do, I bet they paid him badly so he'll gladly accept our new communist overlords I think, Steve who is practising sexual communism already, and finally Rachael and Mary who are trying to change from their old lives and will evolve into superior beings by ascending into Marxism.

TL;DR my answer is

There is no correct answer to this riddle. Therefore I don't plan to try to seriously answer it, because you shouldn't just rate a person by their outside values (which is basically all you have here).

If you really want an answer from me, read the above (sarcastic) text, and the ones I'd throw out would be Mark, Margaret and Peter.
 

Alphaesia

Maze Connoisseur
Op
Apr 21, 2014
1,560
847
You can't use a "you" in this problem without actually letting the person be a contestant. I should like to know which one of these eight I am. But I know that none of them are me, and yet they say there are only eight of us? For god's sake, there's nine of us! Hello, pay attention to me! These idiots don't wanna count or consider me, I'll leave them to their petty ******* dilemmas and take the raft by myself. Christ.

(I was quite prepared to read seven other descriptions and decide if my own life was worth saving among them. I think that would add another layer of depth to this and there'd be even more interesting responses.)

For those who read the second spoiler, sorry.
If I can remember, you are not actually in the scene (picture yourself as god or something).
 
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