Monday, April 15, 2013

[PHI 2200] Do I Know You?

In response to Thomson's violinist case, some of my students reason as follows:
I am not morally obligated to remain attached to the violinist for nine months because I never consented to this situation, I don't know him, and I am not responsible for him.
If you are inclined to agree with this line of reasoning, consider the following. In The Hangover, the bunch finds a baby and takes care of it until the mother of the baby is found.

Were they morally obligated to care for the abandoned baby? Had they refused to do so, and left the baby where they had found it, would they have acted immorally?


  1. From the Hangover: I don't think they were morally obligated to take care of the baby, but I think the right thing to do was find someone of authority to take care of the baby until the mother was found. The same with the violinist; I don't think the person would be morally obligated to continue being attached the the violinist because they did not give consent before hand, but I think that person would be doing the right thing if he tried to find someone who would be willing to be attached to the violinist for however long needed.

  2. Patricia R GousseApril 17, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    You cannot compare these two situations because although the general idea is the same, the factors are not. In regards to the violinist, you are not obligated to stay attached to him for nine months putting yourself at risk. An infant is helpless and cannot survive if they are not given extensive care. You have the option to either care for the child until you find the parents or give the child to the authorities. If they left the child where they found it that would be extremely bad. The child is already born and it is not like a baby in the womb, the child is already born and cannot feed itself or help itself.

  3. If I woke up attached to a violnist, I would not feel morally obligated to continue being attached to him since my consent was not asked to do so in the first place. I do not know the person and it also requires me to take my time, not to mention the use of my body for some unknown person's survival. Now in regards to the situation where the baby was 'found' by the three men, I would feel it was my responsibility to at least take the baby to it's rightful owner since no one else is around to take care of it and it certainly cannot do anything on its own. If I have certain humane morals than yes I would certainly take the baby and watch over it for the time being. If something were to happen to the baby if I left it alone, then it would be my responsibility since I had the choice to take care of the baby when I found and instead walked away.


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