Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When Philosophy Meets Politics

This will help unravel the health care confusion created by politically motivated individuals.
clipped from factcheck.org

Part of the way that ethicists attempt to resolve those problems is by engaging in thought experiments. These are just what they sound like: We make up some scenario (often a pretty unlikely one) and then use that scenario as a way of getting clear on abstract ideas. In my own introductory courses, for example, I would ask students to suppose that they lost a limb to a drunk driver and then ask them how much money they would want as compensation. I would then ask students whether they would take the same sum to let me cut off that same limb.

Now the point here isn’t that I have a particular desire to cut off people’s limbs, nor is it that I think students ought to take my deal. I don’t, and they probably don’t either. Rather, the point was to help students think seriously about whether there can be trade-offs between pain and money.
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