Is it morally right to kill one person in order to save 5 people?

Posted by: Picard

Is taking the life of one person moral if it saves 5 lives? And why?

  • Yes

  • No

71% 117 votes
29% 47 votes
  • If you're going to kill, you might as well be thorough.

  • The suffering of the few is justified by the saving of the many

  • Morally wrong, but reasonably justified.

    Posted by: Scythe
  • As Ragnar said, it's not legal. But that doesn't necissarily mean it's not moral. If you'd like to go to prison with the satisfaciton of knowing five people lived, more power to ya. However, it also depends on the people saved. Killing Kim Jong Un in order to save Will Smith's family, that's heroism. But killing Will Smith in order to save the Kim family, that's done goofing. Even legally, your act may be found justifiable in court. So overall, yes. For the sake of saving five, killing one would appear to be moral.

  • it depends say the five people are criminals that are already sentenced to death or the one person is Albert Enstintion

    Posted by: changb
  • I'm really tired of all the religious retards on this site, man.

    Posted by: Numble
  • yes,because you ethere kill 1 and save 5 or kill 5 and save 1

  • Yes, in the case of self defense . I wouldnt think it would be moral to kill a good man in order to save 5 pedophiles.

    Posted by: Filipa
  • It depends considerably on the circumstances of the killing. What if the one were innocent while the five were criminals? For the sake of the question, I assume that the one and the five are on equal footing, in which case I believe it would be morally justified, since the significance of five lives does outweigh that of one. When suffering is inevitable, it's best to minimize it. No moral decision is ever black and white.

  • All lives are equal so logically, 1:5, you save four lives.

  • You'd be killing one in favor of saving five. I'd feel terrible if it was a child, but sacrifices must be made.

  • Unless the person who has to die possesses superpowers and can save 100's of people, it is morally right.

  • Yes... But only as a last resort, death is the last choice never the first

  • This is textbook Utilitarianism, except it lacks the proper thought experiment examples to allow the reader to fully understand John Stuart Mill's philosophy...but i would go one step further and kill 1 million people to save 1 million and 1 lives....

  • Well, let's focus on solely why this wouldn't be wrong. If this was morally wrong, then the morally correct would be to let those 5 people die (assuming they are innocent and not killers and that the killer is not innocent), and then let yourself die, and then let him run free in the population. If you INTEND to do the right thing, then you did. If you think killing an innocent person is morally right, then according to you it is. Based on what standards? Now, based on average, healthy human standards, why would it be wrong to kill someone bad alone? If you kill someone that has bad intentions worthy of killing, it is morally correct. What is worthy of killing? High level robbery, murder, kidnapping, attempted murder. What isn't? Petty theft, manslaughter (With no intention of hurting). Counterargument: Are you saying that it is WRONG to kill a man intent on killing 5 other innocent people? If anything, rephrase the question... Is it morally wrong to let a killer loose and kill 5 innocent people? And yes, I see how killing can be wrong, but that's only killing innocent people. Killing people is not always wrong because your intentions show different. If you intend to kill someone to stop an innocent from being killed, then your kill was logically executed based on basic moral principles. It all depends on the situation. Crimes are not immoral, they are against the law. My view of morality is this: If you intend to do good, then you did.

  • If you don't kill this one person, you would be killing 5 people.

  • Most likely yes, depends on the five people that get saved. If they are nasty thugs then no.

  • The word moral is objective, open to interpretation no one has the right to say whether its right or wrong. Its reasonable to kill him to save five peoples live, but if I was in his shoes I would kill the person trying to kill me because I value my life more than anyone's, but thats just me.

  • The needs of the many out way the needs of the few

  • Yes i would do it again in a heartbeat. Saving more lives is better then letting just 1 person live.

  • Taking the life of one person just because it saves five lives is not moral. It does not justify killing that person. You may have saved five lives but you ended one. Now, if that person wanted to save the five others, then it could be moral, but otherwise, no, it's not. It's never moral to kill someone.

    Posted by: Howwie
  • Better to kill the one, but not by moral measurements. Legally you just committed a murder, no matter how justifiable.

    Posted by: Ragnar
  • No one has the authority to decide who lives or dies. No one should have to die. No one can take a life away from anyone

  • Is it morally right to kill one person? Th aftereffects are totally unimportant. If it is wrong to kill one person, then it is also wrong to kill them in order to save any amount of others. Assuming that the one you're killing isn't responsible for the 'deaths' of the others; if he's holding them hostage, for example. Then it's okay.

  • It should be up to the person being killed. Otherwise he/she should not have to be killed even when authority says so.

  • No. For many moral reasons. Also authority thrives on this principle, e.g. in general, government has the sole authority to decide who lives and who dies. Only sick in the head, disturbed people enjoy this sort of power.

    Posted by: nsmeta
  • The killing of one person to save five is not morally just because that would require the decision maker to view human life as a quantitative value. Humans however possess individual qualities so then that one person that might be killed for five might be someone like Einstein. While the other five might be ill educated drug addicts. So in order to make such a decision you would have to carefully gauge who has more value from your perspective.

  • No, but one should do it anyway.

  • There is a difference between Justifiably right and morally right. While killing one person to save 5 is justifiable, it is not morally sound. It is never morally right to kill a person. No matter the crime.

  • It is immoral to kill someone no matter what the circumstances are. You should try to do everything in your power to stop them, though, but the line should be drawn at the point of murder. A person should not decide who has the right to live or die.

    Posted by: 87675
  • I understand that killing one to save five is easily justified. But I couldn't bring myself to "okay" such a thing. Death is permanent, there is no coming back from that. Not to mention if I was that one person I would object in a heartbeat XD I'm sure some of you would as well if it came down to it.

  • It is a violation of that one person's human rights

  • It is an affront against the dignity of that one man to use him as a mere means to an end. If you value the end that is human life, then, according to Kant's categorical imperative, you should always act in accordance with that axiom. You cannot inconsistently apply it, otherwise you only believe that human life is an end in and of itself SOMETIMES. In other words, the value and worth of one's life is contingent upon the situation that they are placed into even if they do not change at all. Morality isn't a numbers game. This question is about one's negative obligation to treat others as ends in and of themselves. Now, of course, we can differentiate between killing the person and inadvertently causing his death, but that's a different question altogether.

  • killing whether killing one or killing a hundred, is still KILLING.

  • No. The other side ignores individual rights. The other 5 people deserve to die because they are in the situation and the one person is not. They should have been smarter to avoid death. Why should one person not involved suddenly be sacrificed? If it was between someone you love and a few hundred random people would you still sacrifice your loved one? If so you are an evil person.

    Posted by: Letrus
  • Not only is it wrong to kill anyone, but by killing one to save five, you are placing a finite value on a human life. Since a life has infinite value, it would be wrong to kill the one person.

  • It's not fair that one person have to get their life taking for you to save five people it's doesn't make sense that you have to kill one person just to save five people why can't you just save five people and don't kill anyone

Leave a comment...
(Maximum 900 words)
Human9887 says2013-09-05T02:45:50.3268795-05:00
If you killed 5 people for 1 person to live, would that be moral
Ragnar says2013-09-05T09:08:16.9411008-05:00
Actually shouldn't this be in the opinion section, since it's a yes/no question?
RiyaChettiyar says2013-09-05T09:23:02.4801152-05:00
It's not exactly moral, but it's diplomatic. It's gaining more by sacrificing less. And the most important of all, as the saying goes, 'To gain one thing, you have to sacrifice the other'.
MasturDbtor says2013-09-05T16:15:26.8227206-05:00
A few questions: 1. Would either decision lead to jail or other forms of social retaliation against me either for acting or not acting? 2. Would either decision lead to any sort of praise or prize for my acting or not acting? 3. Do I know any of these people? What is my relationship to them?
DanT says2013-09-05T17:03:32.5763780-05:00
henryajevans says2013-09-08T18:40:09.9361414-05:00
Unless the five people were Bill O'Reilly, Newt Gingrich, Nigel Farage, Ron Paul and Paul Ryan, there would be no problem with that.
abyteofbrain says2013-11-25T13:27:12.1554086-06:00
I think that you meant "...Kill 1 innocent..."
ft_rommel says2014-04-28T22:02:46.6178355-05:00
If you look at it from the utilitarian point of view, then yes, one live provides the greatest good for the other five. Unless, of course, you are the one individual, or the one individual is your wife, girlfriend, mother, father, daughter, son, etc., in that case, Rawls would argue that, no, it would not be morally or ethically right.
SirDeletedContent says2015-01-29T09:50:29.1544417-06:00
This is an example of morality vs. Rationality (morality is ruling by human emotion, rationality is going off of pure logic). I'm personally for rationality over morality (think it through), but that's just how my brain works.

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