Philosophy

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One may question the intentions of others when deciding how they should be treated in a situation of crime or evil. There is no answer set in stone for what is right and what is wrong, although many theories can try and defend one. In many situations in life, both options may be wrong or both options may be right. Metaethics is one theory that identifies the nature of our values while defending what is right and wrong. In the story, “The Cold Equations” written by Tom Godwin, rights and values is questioned when deciding if Marilyn should be sacrificed. Utilitarianism, Metaethics and deontology are used in reasoning why Barton was right to have jettisoned Marilyn off of the ship, ending her life. EDS Pilot, Barton, did what he morally had to do when sacrificing Marilyn. Although Marilyn was a young girl and appeared to have good intentions when coming on board, there was just not enough fuel for that one extra person on board and she would have to be jettisoned in order to save the rest of the men on the ship. Barton never intentionally wanted to kill Marilyn, as it was merely his duty as pilot to follow the laws stated on the ship to keep his passengers safe. One may accuse Barton for murder, as he was the person to jettison her. Although, the definition of murder states that it is culpable homicide with specific intentions (TP, 1985.) He did not have specific intentions to kill Marilyn, as he wanted to save her, and felt guilty for not doing so. Barton would have intervened Marilyn’s death if it were possible. The ship was only able to carry the exact amount of items on board and the exact amount of people on board. “They were very precise and accurate and omitted nothing from their calculations. They could not, however, foresee, and allow for, the added mass of a stowaway.” (TP, 253.) This explains that there would be no exceptions, even for a perceived innocent young girl looking to see her brother. Barton was only following the law of the ship and did not

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