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Old 18th January 2021, 06:41 AM   #81
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
The difference is that I will be dead and not able to feel anything.
That's true for every emotion on every subject. What I was asking was whether you now, if gifted with perfect knowledge of the future, would be incapable of anger on matters surrounding your corpse alone, or if you would be equally aloof about all other matters as well. For instance, if your family home were to be purchased by Martin Shkreli and turned into a museum extolling his greatness, or if your last pet outlived you but would be killed by a drunk driver, or if your surviving loved ones were to be swindled by fraudsters and end up in poverty, or your country destroyed in a war.

I suggest that no, you and most people are perfectly capable of having emotional reactions to events past, present, and future hypothetical. And that this is absolutely normal.
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Old 18th January 2021, 06:57 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
...snip...

So where does the state get the moral authority to decide what I'm allowed to do with my own body?
Canít think of any developed country that doesnít and hasnít for a long time. There are usually strict regulations of how bodies have to be disposed off, including bits that are cut off or cut out when you are still alive.

Plus in the countries that have an opt-out system you have the exact same options as in an opt-in one.
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Old 18th January 2021, 07:05 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
But it does seem to be a "difficult thing to get on board with", or else people would be agreeing with you on the matter, wouldn't they? Scrolling in this thread suggests the opposite.
It doesnít - the article I linked to touches on it but in places which have adopted opt-out the decision very quickly becomes one that most people believe is an inconsequential decision.

I was about to link to some older stuff Iíve read in the past but as I was searching this article popped up from literally a few days ago about this exact issue:

https://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard....onation-us-uk/
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Old 18th January 2021, 07:08 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Those people who disagree are more than welcome to opt out.
And as I always say when it comes to ideas of the dead owning or having rights, I am absolutely willing to consider that ownership claim and that claim of rights if the dead start complaining....
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Old 18th January 2021, 07:10 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
And as I always say when it comes to ideas of the dead owning or having rights, I am absolutely willing to consider that ownership claim and that claim of rights if the dead start complaining....
You'd have no objection if someone defiled your grandmother's grave to make a funny TikTok video, then?
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Old 18th January 2021, 09:51 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
You'd have no objection if someone defiled your grandmother's grave to make a funny TikTok video, then?
It is very difficult to object to anything when you are dead. You might have an emotion about something while alive. But I'm with Darat on this.
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Old 18th January 2021, 10:03 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
It is very difficult to object to anything when you are dead. You might have an emotion about something while alive. But I'm with Darat on this.
Again, we are speaking of reactions now to hypothetical future events. Unless you are claiming that you now would have no emotional reaction to finding out something unpleasant will happen in the future after your death?
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Old 18th January 2021, 10:33 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Besides that, the state often gets to incarcerate people if they breach certain parts of a social contract that they never signed, they get to make conditions on certain vaccinations, children are wards of state, etc...
The fundamental principle here is that the state cannot just incarcerate people willy-nilly. The state essentially has to argue for an exception to that rule, and prove to some degree of certainty that an exception is justified in this specific case, for these specific reasons. And if it fails to convince, it must give up the attempt.

This is the opposite of the organ-donor principle, where the state takes over automatically, and the actual owner of the body must take exception. Which is simple enough to do, but... There are plenty of scams and quasi-scams based on the fact that people are much less likely to opt out of a subscription, once they've opted in (or been opted in).

It's a marketing gimmick, exploited by everything from Columbia House to Amazon Prime. These businesses rely on human inattention to increase their revenues. And the government does the same thing - increasing its revenue of human organs.

To me, using marketing tricks to fish in everyone who's not paying attention is much less ethical than only working with people who are paying attention and making an informed choice to participate.

I find it especially interesting - and unethical - for the government in this case to portray it as a success of people choosing to donate, when really it's a success of people being chosen to donate and not noticing.

But yeah, I'm not a fan of governments commoditizing human organs and using state powers to auto-enroll donors and maximize revenues.
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Old 18th January 2021, 11:24 AM   #89
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Suren, it might be worthwhile to ask a different angle on your original scenario. Suppose you were one of the five people in jeopardy? Assume you're conscious and in no great pain, but you know you and the other four will all die if nothing is done.

Is there any possibility within that scenario that you would volunteer to sacrifice your life and your organs to save the other four? Suppose all the others have young children dependent on them, while your children were grown and successful already. Or suppose the four other were your children. Or alternatively, suppose the five of you are all just random strangers, but for whatever reason you're at peace with the world and you've resigned yourself to dying.

Now, it might not be ethical for the doctors to accept or act upon such an offer, let alone ask you or any of the others to volunteer. Those are separate questions. But is the possibility you would volunteer completely unthinkable on the face of it?
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Old 18th January 2021, 11:38 AM   #90
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Volunteer to take the fall? Agree to a lottery? Opt out of the lottery and its payoff?
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Old 18th January 2021, 12:25 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Suren, it might be worthwhile to ask a different angle on your original scenario. Suppose you were one of the five people in jeopardy? Assume you're conscious and in no great pain, but you know you and the other four will all die if nothing is done.

Is there any possibility within that scenario that you would volunteer to sacrifice your life and your organs to save the other four? Suppose all the others have young children dependent on them, while your children were grown and successful already. Or suppose the four other were your children. Or alternatively, suppose the five of you are all just random strangers, but for whatever reason you're at peace with the world and you've resigned yourself to dying.

Now, it might not be ethical for the doctors to accept or act upon such an offer, let alone ask you or any of the others to volunteer. Those are separate questions. But is the possibility you would volunteer completely unthinkable on the face of it?
Yes, sacrificing own life is acceptable in this situation. Because it's not somebody's else life.
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Old 18th January 2021, 02:55 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The fundamental principle here is that the state cannot just incarcerate people willy-nilly. The state essentially has to argue for an exception to that rule, and prove to some degree of certainty that an exception is justified in this specific case, for these specific reasons. And if it fails to convince, it must give up the attempt.

This is the opposite of the organ-donor principle, where the state takes over automatically, and the actual owner of the body must take exception. Which is simple enough to do, but... There are plenty of scams and quasi-scams based on the fact that people are much less likely to opt out of a subscription, once they've opted in (or been opted in).

It's a marketing gimmick, exploited by everything from Columbia House to Amazon Prime. These businesses rely on human inattention to increase their revenues. And the government does the same thing - increasing its revenue of human organs.

To me, using marketing tricks to fish in everyone who's not paying attention is much less ethical than only working with people who are paying attention and making an informed choice to participate.

I find it especially interesting - and unethical - for the government in this case to portray it as a success of people choosing to donate, when really it's a success of people being chosen to donate and not noticing.

But yeah, I'm not a fan of governments commoditizing human organs and using state powers to auto-enroll donors and maximize revenues.
I don't know where this highlighted bit comes in. Presumably this assumes a for-profit healthcare system, which was not one of my assumptions.

In my view, opt-out simply has beneficial health outcomes, so the status quo bias is set at "better health outcomes" and those who object to better health outcomes still get to change the settings if they prefer.
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Old 18th January 2021, 03:04 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Imagine there are 5 dying unconscious patients with various organ failures (heart, lung, kidney, etc.). There is a possibility to kill one of them and use his organs to save the other 4. There is no possibility of preference for a victim based on rationality, i.e. we can choose the victim randomly at best.

Is it acceptable to kill someone for the sake of saving others?

Imagine that 500,000 people are going to die within the next year with various organ failures (heart, lung, kidney, etc.). It is possible to save the vast majority of them, but you imagine that it may be at the expense of business and your political career.

Is it acceptable to kill 500,000 people for the sake of business and political careers?

Sorry, but I just can't stand those imaginary dilemmas.
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Old 18th January 2021, 03:08 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
That's true for every emotion on every subject. What I was asking was whether you now, if gifted with perfect knowledge of the future, would be incapable of anger on matters surrounding your corpse alone, or if you would be equally aloof about all other matters as well. For instance, if your family home were to be purchased by Martin Shkreli and turned into a museum extolling his greatness, or if your last pet outlived you but would be killed by a drunk driver, or if your surviving loved ones were to be swindled by fraudsters and end up in poverty, or your country destroyed in a war.

I suggest that no, you and most people are perfectly capable of having emotional reactions to events past, present, and future hypothetical. And that this is absolutely normal.
Of course I might object now to things that might happen after I'm dead. My son knows how I want my body to be disposed of, for example. And I feel confident that he will comply with my wishes in that matter. However, if he doesn't, then I will neither have any control over that, nor will I be capable of feeling upset or angry about it.

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
You'd have no objection if someone defiled your grandmother's grave to make a funny TikTok video, then?
I would have an objection about that, yes. My grandmother would not.
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Old 18th January 2021, 03:26 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Imagine there are 5 dying unconscious patients with various organ failures (heart, lung, kidney, etc.). There is a possibility to kill one of them and use his organs to save the other 4. There is no possibility of preference for a victim based on rationality, i.e. we can choose the victim randomly at best.

Is it acceptable to kill someone for the sake of saving others?

Some people might argue that we should leave them to die since we are committing murder which is by itself is very immoral. But what if we were in a similar situation with 100 or even 1000 (both are unrealistic but let's ignore this for the sake of the thought experiment) dying patients instead of 5? Can this number reach to some point where killing 1 person becomes more rational/moral?
The first medical professional to argue that one of the patients should be killed to save the others should be immediately killed and his/her organs used to save the five.
That way - all five are saved instead of only four and the person so willing to sacrifice another is him/herself sacrificed and can die happy as a great example to all.
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Old 18th January 2021, 03:27 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Of course I might object now to things that might happen after I'm dead. My son knows how I want my body to be disposed of, for example. And I feel confident that he will comply with my wishes in that matter. However, if he doesn't, then I will neither have any control over that, nor will I be capable of feeling upset or angry about it.
Then you won't be capable of feeling upset or angry. But if your son told you now that he was going to make sure to not follow your wishes you'd be angry now.

What we're establishing is that it's perfectly reasonable to have feelings about one's corpse's disposal.

Quote:
I would have an objection about that, yes. My grandmother would not.
Which establishes that people can have feelings about other people's corpse's disposal as well.
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Old 18th January 2021, 04:34 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Then you won't be capable of feeling upset or angry. But if your son told you now that he was going to make sure to not follow your wishes you'd be angry now.
Not really. I could make a huge fuss and make him promise and write him out of my will and scream and shout and whatever, but he may still choose to do something different when I'm dead so I don't really see the point.

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
What we're establishing is that it's perfectly reasonable to have feelings about one's corpse's disposal.
I'm strongly of the opinion that emotional responses are fully human and not something that ought to be avoided, but there are some times when getting angry or upset about something is pointless and just uses mental energy. So no, I wouldn't be angry.

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Which establishes that people can have feelings about other people's corpse's disposal as well.
Well, yes. I realise that I was answering a question that was not directed at me, but I have never said that it is unreasonable to have feelings about other peoples' corpse disposal.
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Old 18th January 2021, 05:18 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
The first medical professional to argue that one of the patients should be killed to save the others should be immediately killed and his/her organs used to save the five.
That way - all five are saved instead of only four and the person so willing to sacrifice another is him/herself sacrificed and can die happy as a great example to all.
Good idea, except it turns out that the only person who could save the five was the medical professional you killed, and her organs are not compatible with the patients. Oh no!!! Also, she was working on life-saving research on curing cancer. D'oh! Congratulations, your deontological outrage just led to a way worse outcome!
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Old 18th January 2021, 05:21 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Of course I might object now to things that might happen after I'm dead. My son knows how I want my body to be disposed of, for example. And I feel confident that he will comply with my wishes in that matter. However, if he doesn't, then I will neither have any control over that, nor will I be capable of feeling upset or angry about it.
Unfortunately this works both ways. For example, if you say, "Donate my organs and body to medical science!" but your family decide they would rather build a massive mausoleum and mummify your body, then they could argue, "Sure, it's not what he wanted but he's dead so his feelings are irrelevant."

I think a more rational approach doesn't appeal to anger and other emotions.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 18th January 2021, 05:25 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Again, we are speaking of reactions now to hypothetical future events. Unless you are claiming that you now would have no emotional reaction to finding out something unpleasant will happen in the future after your death?
Gee. My wife often asks me this question. How or why should I be emotional when I am dead, deaddity dead? I'll be dead. I won't care. It won't affect me in any possible way. Take my remains (if any) to the dog food factory and make a dog or two happy.

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Old 18th January 2021, 05:33 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Gee. My wife often asks me this question. How or why should I be emotional when I am dead, deaddity dead? I'll be dead. I won't care. It won't affect me in any possible way. Take my remains (if any) to the dog food factory and make a dog or two happy.

But what if they eat you and get a taste for human flesh? Then consquences would be terrible.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 18th January 2021, 05:37 PM   #102
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I continue to get a good chuckle from this thread from those that seem to think the question is answerable. It is not. There is no equation to assign numbers to the variables and get a solution. At one time I worked for a government ministry of health (in a non-medical role). If there was such an equation, we would have used it for budgeting.
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Old 18th January 2021, 05:38 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
But what if they eat you and get a taste for human flesh? Then consquences would be terrible.
Ahem. I'll be dead and uncaring.
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Old 18th January 2021, 05:48 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
I continue to get a good chuckle from this thread from those that seem to think the question is answerable. It is not. There is no equation to assign numbers to the variables and get a solution. At one time I worked for a government ministry of health (in a non-medical role). If there was such an equation, we would have used it for budgeting.
I dunno.

Is it not answerable?

I remember an episode of Rationally Speaking with Julia Galef who said she hears people say, "We can't assign a probability to that outcome!" and then she asks "How about 1%?" and the person would respond, "No, much higher than that!"

There may not be a perfect answer, but I think some answers square with our moral intutions more than others.

When someone says, "We can't assign a value for a human life!" can we say it is worth less than five human lives? Or twenty? Or one hundred? Or a million?

I think there has to be a point at which we would bite the bullet and say, "Okay, we can sacrifice one human life for X!"
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 18th January 2021, 05:52 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
If there was such an equation, we would have used it for budgeting.
Also, I have to wonder if you don't at least use some rule-of-thumb equations for budgeting.

If there were certain drugs or certain types of research that could save a few lives but would bankrupt the country, then you wouldn't pursue it. I would bet a lot of money that budgeting does indeed boil down to "we can save five lives or one". It just doesn't look like it because it is so complicated.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 18th January 2021, 06:15 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
I continue to get a good chuckle from this thread from those that seem to think the question is answerable. It is not. There is no equation to assign numbers to the variables and get a solution. At one time I worked for a government ministry of health (in a non-medical role). If there was such an equation, we would have used it for budgeting.
I'm not sure about the particular ministry you worked for, but there absolutely are formulas for complex moral valuations in healthcare.

I'll give you one right now. Professionals are deciding the order in which people are prioritized for vaccine. And before that, they had to create policies about who gets preference if ventilators or ICU beds are maxxed out.

We could argue about whether such questions are objectively answerable, but they must be answered.
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Old 18th January 2021, 06:21 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I dunno.

Is it not answerable?

I remember an episode of Rationally Speaking with Julia Galef who said she hears people say, "We can't assign a probability to that outcome!" and then she asks "How about 1%?" and the person would respond, "No, much higher than that!"

There may not be a perfect answer, but I think some answers square with our moral intutions more than others.

When someone says, "We can't assign a value for a human life!" can we say it is worth less than five human lives? Or twenty? Or one hundred? Or a million?

I think there has to be a point at which we would bite the bullet and say, "Okay, we can sacrifice one human life for X!"
In fact, there are a ton of situations where a government spending some amount of money could potentially save a life. And while lives are priceless, governments don't have infinite money, they absolutely have formulas for how much money they'll spend to save a life. I believe in the US in at least a few agencies, the number is around 8 million per person or so to budget in terms of solving problems that have a statistical mortality.
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Old 18th January 2021, 06:43 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Unfortunately this works both ways. For example, if you say, "Donate my organs and body to medical science!" but your family decide they would rather build a massive mausoleum and mummify your body, then they could argue, "Sure, it's not what he wanted but he's dead so his feelings are irrelevant."
They could indeed do that, and there would be absolutely nothing I could do about it. So I don't see a point to getting preemptively upset about it.

For the record, I would be absolutely fine with being mummified in a massive mausoleum, but anyway.
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Old 18th January 2021, 06:51 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
They could indeed do that, and there would be absolutely nothing I could do about it. So I don't see a point to getting preemptively upset about it.

For the record, I would be absolutely fine with being mummified in a massive mausoleum, but anyway.
I think the issue here is that we donít believe you can be as indifferent as you claim to be towards anything that you canít do anything about. We can get upset about things we cannot do anything about: natural disasters for example.

We might also want to care about things that happen after our death, to people we love.
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Old 18th January 2021, 07:14 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Yes, sacrificing own life is acceptable in this situation. Because it's not somebody's else life.

Okay, there's a starting point, which also adds some clarification. It's not the outcome that's necessarily objectionable, it's who decides it.

Now suppose the circumstances are as before, and it's one of the specific scenarios where you would sacrifice your own life. The problem is, this time you're in a coma and unlikely to revive (due to the condition that's also threatening your life) before you either die or are cured by transplant surgery. Fortunately, you have a close friend or relative whom you trust and who has your power of attorney. That person knows all your views about such situations, and on that basis is certain that you'd sacrifice your life if you could, and therefore volunteers your life and organs on your behalf. Is that acceptable?

(As before, disregarding the separate question of whether it would be ethical for the doctors to actually carry out the request.)
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Old 18th January 2021, 07:29 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I think the issue here is that we donít believe you can be as indifferent as you claim to be towards anything that you canít do anything about. We can get upset about things we cannot do anything about: natural disasters for example.

We might also want to care about things that happen after our death, to people we love.
Again, I'm not talking about anything I can't do anything about, I'm talking about this thing I can't do anything about. Perhaps I was unclear earlier and gave people the impression that I was speaking about a broader range of circumstances than I was. I hope I have clarified sufficiently that I am talking specifically about what happens to my body after death, and nothing else.
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Old 18th January 2021, 09:13 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Again, I'm not talking about anything I can't do anything about, I'm talking about this thing I can't do anything about. Perhaps I was unclear earlier and gave people the impression that I was speaking about a broader range of circumstances than I was. I hope I have clarified sufficiently that I am talking specifically about what happens to my body after death, and nothing else.
Okay, no problem!
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 18th January 2021, 09:22 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Okay, no problem!
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Old 19th January 2021, 09:22 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Also, I have to wonder if you don't at least use some rule-of-thumb equations for budgeting.

If there were certain drugs or certain types of research that could save a few lives but would bankrupt the country, then you wouldn't pursue it. I would bet a lot of money that budgeting does indeed boil down to "we can save five lives or one". It just doesn't look like it because it is so complicated.
Indeed. Decisions have to be made. The question, "How much is a human life worth", is always in the background. Budgets were set. However, there is no definitive answer.
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Old 19th January 2021, 09:41 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Alright then, I'll give a better example: In many cultures around the world, they have opt-out rather than opt-in. It seems that this is not a very difficult thing to get people on board with. It should be promoted for the benefits that it can clearly bring to society and those people who want no part of it get to opt-out.

What's the problem with that?
The problem I have with that is that people who want no part of it are opted in without actually giving them the option, and then expected to go to extra effort of their own to opt out.
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Old 19th January 2021, 09:47 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I don't know where this highlighted bit comes in. Presumably this assumes a for-profit healthcare system, which was not one of my assumptions.

In my view, opt-out simply has beneficial health outcomes, so the status quo bias is set at "better health outcomes" and those who object to better health outcomes still get to change the settings if they prefer.
The currency in this case is human organs. The automatic-in policy treats human organs as commodities, and uses an ethically-questionable sales gimmick to maximize revenues of human organs.
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Old 19th January 2021, 09:52 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Ahem. I'll be dead and uncaring. : p
This tends towards solipsism.

It also dismisses any argument for social change based on appeal to outcomes for future generations.

Global climate change will kill thousands and harm millions more in the future? I could make some radical changes to my own lifestyle to prevent this from happening at some point after my death?

Ahem.

I'll be dead and uncaring.
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Old 19th January 2021, 09:56 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
In fact, there are a ton of situations where a government spending some amount of money could potentially save a life. And while lives are priceless, governments don't have infinite money, they absolutely have formulas for how much money they'll spend to save a life. I believe in the US in at least a few agencies, the number is around 8 million per person or so to budget in terms of solving problems that have a statistical mortality.
In UK healthcare the figure is usually about up to £20000 per QALY, so if someone lives 70 healthy years that would be around £1.4 million. What it means in real life is if for example a new drug would give a terminal cancer patient an additional 6 months and it cost £30,000 for the treatment it wouldnít be available via one of the NHSs. (You could of course still pay for it.)
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Old 19th January 2021, 09:59 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
You'd have no objection if someone defiled your grandmother's grave to make a funny TikTok video, then?
Iím not dead.
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Old 19th January 2021, 09:59 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
We could argue about whether such questions are objectively answerable, but they must be answered.
This is pretty much where I'm at. Moral philosophers can babble all day about how there is no one "good" or "right" answer to the Trolley Problem.

Meanwhile, in real life, we have to come up with the best answers we can all the time. Medical professionals. Military commanders.

Hell, Hillary Clinton's whole campaign promise of reducing or eliminating coal jobs, in the name of making a better tomorrow for more people than she was promising a worse today, was just her presenting a real-world trolley problem and her real-world solution.
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