Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Bioethics

2 Questions about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge involves donating to the ALS Association and/or dumping a bucket of ice water over one’s head to raise awareness for ALS, a rare neurodegenerative disease. One can then challenge additional people to take the ice bucket challenge, raising donations and awareness for the disease:


It seems there are two kinds of people these days–people who are enthusiastically participating in the ALS ice bucket challenge and people who think it’s stupid and annoying.  To answer this question, we need to ask two more.

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Killing People for their Organs

Many people believe they have a knockdown objection to utilitarian moral theory. They argue that utilitarianism implies that it is morally permissible to kill people for their organs in order to save other people. They argue this conclusion is repugnant and obviously wrong, and that therefore utilitarianism must also be a repugnant, obviously wrong moral theory. Sophisticated critics attempt to explain why killing people for their organs is obviously wrong–they claim it uses people as a means to someone else’s ends. In this case, the people killed for their organs are said to be used as a means to the ends of those in need of transplants. As someone with strongly utilitarian leanings, it is important that I have a response to this case, so here goes.

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