The utilitarian includes all the positive and negative effects of an act. This relates to the consequences that arise from an act following performance. The difference in consequences is insignificant which results in the disregarding of choice alternatives by some utilitarian (West 1). In a case such as Jimmy’s, a utilitarian would opt to save the nine patients and kill Jimmy. In utilitarian perspective, this results in greater good for nine more people as well as their families and friends. Since Jimmy has no friends, no one would be unhappy from his death. In addition to this, Jimmy seems like one who is almost giving up on life while the patients on the other hand require urgent transplants. The transplants could be availed upon Jimmy’s death so a utilitarian would not waste time in deciding to kill Jimmy and save the nine patients using his organs.
While it would be wonderful to save all the nine patients, this perspective is challenging as it involves killing of a person first. Jimmy has not indicated willingness to lose his life. If this were the case, the utilitarian could take it as an automatic ticket to kill Jimmy. This perspective is also ethically wrong due to the choice given. Since the patients are sick naturally, their death upon ignorance of the utilitarian perspective would not be blamed on any one. It is obvious that the patients are sick and also that if the utilitarian step is ignored they would die. However, killing one person to save others is ethically wrong by virtue of the act itself being wrong. Elimination of Jimmy is thus synonymous to denying a person his life despite the objective of saving others.
West, Henry. “Utilitarianism.” Utilitarianism. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
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