Nazi Prisoner Doctors

Topics: Ethics, Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill Pages: 2 (467 words) Published: August 10, 2012
Nazi Prisoner Doctors
In my opinion, if asked, Aristotle would have worked in the prison camp hospital. Aristotle’s position on ethic is to find a balance of good and what may not be good. “Virtuous activities are those that avoid the two extremes of excess and deficiency. For example if you fear too much, you become cowardly; if you fear too little, you become rash. The mean is courage (Aristotle, p. 410). In the hospital the mean between not helping anyone and helping no one would be to help the ones you can. Even if at times you were required to kill some for the greater good I think that would still be the mean. In Kant’s “Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals” it seems that he is saying for an action to be moral it must be good all by itself. If the action is good as a means to something else then it is not necessarily good. In this respect I think Kant wouldn’t work in the prison hospital. Helping a fellow prisoner is good, but it is a means to happiness from the special favors that are being offered. On the other hand if he were to do it for special favors it would be the means to something else and inherently not good.

John Stuart Mill says “The utilitarian doctrine is that happiness is desirable, and the only thing desirable, as an end; all other things being desirable as a means to that end” (Mill, p.425). I think what he is saying that the things we desire such as a new car or a house with the white picket fence are a means to become happy. I think Mill, if offered special favors in return, would help the prisoners. Helping them is a means to special favors which is a means to being happy. If I was put in the situation of the Nazi prisoner doctors I would use my skills to help the fellow prisoners, however I would not accept more or better food or anything else that the other prisoners would not receive because in accordance with “Article III” of the United States Military Code of Conduct, “If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means...
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