Ethical Issues Disclosed By The Trolley Problem Philosophy Essay

Outline and evaluate the ethical issues disclosed by the trolley problem and ill

Released in 1993, Philadelphia opens with a promising and competent lawyer – Andrew Beckett – who was afflicted with AIDS and subsequently fired when his illness was discovered by the partners in the firm. Beckett tries to engage a lawyer to sue his former employers at Wyant Wheeler for discrimination but is rebuffed by every lawyer he visited. His fortunes changed when Joe Miller, a lawyer he once defeated in an earlier court case, decided to represent him in court after witnessing discriminatory acts against Beckett. After a series of proceedings, Beckett finally succeeds in his case, setting a precedent in America. This movie was inspired by the true story of Geoffrey Bowers, an attorney who in 1987 sued American law firm Baker and McKenzie in one of the first AIDS discrimination cases in the country.

Central Dilemma

The movie provides a backdrop that forces the viewer to examine the struggle between discrimination and morality (or rather, perceived morality).

The central dilemma of the movie is whether it is ethical to fire a man who is fully competent at his job simply because he has a disorder or a lifestyle judged to be morally reprehensible.

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In examining the central dilemma, a question arises: should the lifestyle of an employee come under the purview of the employer? In the film, Beckett was seen to be an extremely competent lawyer. Self-assured and meticulous, he had defended numerous clients with great success, and also befriended the firm’s management, including Wheeler himself. These accomplishments had been attained under a veil of deception because of Wheeler’s prejudice against homosexuality. Things came undone when lesions on his face (which can only be caused by AIDS) had become apparent to all. Beckett was subsequently fired on grounds of incompetence due to an incident which could have been staged by the firm. Generally, the conduct of employees should be subject to the employer’s purview because they have received consideration for work. If the employer feels that the errant employee’s conduct could affect the company adversely, control measures may be acceptable. This may be especially so for a law firm, where the image of conservatism is important in instilling confidence in their clientele. However, lifestyle and sexual orientation are merely personal choices and to have them subject to the employer’s purview would seem to be unethical and overstepping the boundaries of personal freedom.

Having established that, it would then follow to look at the ethicality of the law that governs dismissal on discriminatory grounds. According to American statutes, it is illegal for an employer to fire a man because of a terminal illness such as cancer or AIDS, provided that the illness does not impede that man’s performance. However, is it ethical to criminalise firing a person on what can be seen as discretionary grounds as well? Business management decisions are made every day based on the manager and business owner’s discretion. By criminalising the act of firing someone on the basis of discriminatory grounds, it seems that the right to autonomy of the employer is infringed upon. This is incompatible with the Kantian and Rawlsian ethical theory. However, by choosing to set his business up in America, Wheeler (the employer in this case) has implicitly agreed to participate in a social contract, which affords him other rights as an employer in return for his agreement to curtail some of his autonomy. Since approval has been implied, subjecting him to the laws of America would still be ethical even if it infringes upon some of his autonomy as an employer.

Thus, upon careful consideration of the arguments above, it seems that it would be unethical to dismiss a competent man on grounds of discrimination of his lifestyle. The same resolution is reached in the movie as well. The jury, after swift deliberation, decides that Wheeler is indeed guilty of violating the law and award Beckett a sizeable compensation. Though his case is not yet fully closed, he had won the trial and refused to passively accept the prejudice that lost him his job.

Ethical issues and analysis arising from the story


The ubiquitous theme of discrimination based on sexual orientation and HIV status is arguably the most important ethical issue that underlies the movie. Several key events in the film illustrate this.

Beckett works for a large law firm, Wyant Wheeler, in Philadelphia. A brilliant and capable lawyer, Beckett is rewarded with a job promotion and handed an important case to work on as recognition of his contributions to the firm. Beckett is diagnosed with AIDS and does not inform his co-workers of his sickness and that he is homosexual. After some of the senior partners were made aware of his sickness, he was wrongfully accused of misfiling important documents and was abruptly fired from his job. Accordingly, the capricious attitudes of the senior partners suggest that Beckett was unfairly dismissed because of his HIV status and sexual orientation, and not his alleged incompetence.

At a scene in the library where Beckett was researching on his case, the librarian realizes that Beckett has AIDS and curtly suggests that he retire to a private room. The librarian’s insensitive gesture also lands Beckett in an awkward situation where others nearby begin to cast uncomfortable and cold stares at him. What the librarian probably means is that he and the other users at the library would feel more comfortable if Beckett isolated himself. This event particularly highlights the connection between ethical concerns regarding discrimination and social justice, or more specifically, social oppression.

This raises the question of whether it is ethical to discriminate against an AIDS patient. There are many reasonable grounds for people to shun an AIDS victim. In the 1990s, AIDS was a relatively unknown disease, only that it was associated with homosexuality and that it was deadly. Given the circumstances, not many knew about how AIDS was spread, hence it seemed prudent and even justifiable to stay away from the “source”. Not only that, most inhabitants in Philadelphia subscribed to a moral code, which seemed to derogate homosexuality. What is seen as discrimination now was merely the public expressing their freedom to thoughts and showing emotions and may not have been unethical. However compelling the reasons were, it still does not detract from the fact that such expressions were also invading the principles of justice, where all men are equal.


This movie also highlights the ethical issue of lying. Is it morally right for Beckett to conceal his homosexuality and illness from his company? Has the principle of honesty been infringed upon in this instance? In addressing these questions, we will first need to consider the extent to which Beckett is obliged to disclose the intimate details of his personal life to the firm. An employee is contractually required to uphold and promote the interests of his employer, such as performing well in the assigned position, in return for an agreed salary and benefits package. Therefore, if certain characteristics of an employee would in some way or another contravene the interests of the firm, then it most certainly possesses a right to access this information.

Although Beckett’s sexual orientation seems highly unlikely to interfere with his job performance, it is a different story with regards to his illness. The unpredictability of Beckett’s ailing health is evident when he suddenly collapses at home due to bowel spasms. It would have been especially disastrous if this had happened during a client consultation. As we can infer, even if he was allowed to preserve his job, the deterioration of his health would most likely impinge upon his ability to function optimally at work. Cognizant that he would not be able to fulfil his duties for long, which is clearly not in the best interests of the firm, the onus is on Beckett as a responsible employee to inform Wyant Wheeler of his condition. Beckett’s withholding of the truth may thus be interpreted as dishonest behaviour and a breach of fiduciary duty.

Justice of the ruling: an alternate ending?

The court eventually ruled in favour of Beckett, awarding him back pay, damages for pain and suffering, and punitive damages totalling nearly $4.5million. On top of having to pay a decidedly hefty amount in legal reparations, Wyant Wheeler also suffered a severe hit to its otherwise sterling image. At first glance, this appears to be the ultimate desired outcome where Beckett successfully obtains the legal redress which he seeks. However, upon careful deliberation, the gravity of the crime does not seem to warrant such a heavy penalty, which in turn raises questions about the integrity of the judgement.

Firstly, the court’s decision seemed to be based to some extent, on the principle of beneficence, the rewarding of a man for his assertion of dignity in the final days of his life instead of pure justice. As a result of its malfeasance, Wyant Wheeler was deprived of many of its funds. The court’s decision thus smacks of consequentialism, pursuing reparations to Beckett for physical and psychological harms without considering that the means of such pursuit could greatly jeopardize the financial future of the company. In trying to pass a fair verdict to punish the perpetrators for their discriminatory conduct, the court seems to have over-penalized Wyant Wheeler, which in itself does not seem to be a just decision.

Secondly, given the unprecedented nature of the case, the sentencing seemed to be intended as such to set an example for future judicial decision making concerning similar crimes. Since one of the core functions of the court is to guide public opinion, a harsh verdict invariably signals to the public that the court does not condone the act and that offenders will be severely dealt with. Hence, the court might plausibly have imposed a disproportionately heavy penalty, at the expense of Wyant Wheeler, to deter potential offenders. Such an act relegates Wyant Wheeler to merely a means to achieve the court’s ends, which is ethically incongruous with Immanuel Kant’s principle of humanity.

Recommendations for director

The overarching ethical issue in the movie is that of prejudice and discrimination on the part of Wyant Wheeler, contrasted with Beckett’s reluctance to notify the firm of his possibly debilitating illness. Both parties have their own points of view on the situation, but as we see in the movie, the focus was slanted more towards that of prejudice from Wyant Wheeler against Beckett. Before we dive deeper into the analysis, let us first elucidate the salient points involved in Beckett’s reticence.

Beckett was a lawyer, and a very good one as evident by his stature and responsibilities at Wyant Wheeler, the best law firm in Philadelphia. Given these circumstances, even if the firm admitted to dismissing him based on the grounds of his AIDS disease, would they not be justified in doing so?

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To answer this question, it may be prudent to first examine what purpose a lawyer is supposed to fulfil. A lawyer is a person whose job is to advise clients as to their legal rights and obligations, and represent the client in the courts if necessary. In such a profession, one of the most important elements is that of “trust” between the client and the lawyer as the client has effectively given the lawyer the mandate to handle the client’s rights and obligations.

Such work necessitates a lot of client interaction, and even if the partners at Wyant Wheeler were not personally prejudiced against AIDS or homosexuality, there is no guarantee that their clients will have such a mindset. Society, religion and upbringing have conditioned most individuals to shun away from AIDS or homosexuality; after all, is it not a visceral response to keep away from sickness or people who make you uncomfortable?

Furthermore, at the time the movie was filmed, the general public awareness of AIDS was somewhat limited – it would not come as a surprise if clients balked after finding out their litigator, Beckett, was a victim of the AIDS disease. Wyant Wheeler’s stellar reputation might plausibly have been ruined if they had allowed Beckett to continue serving clients. In the general interest of the company and their many other employees, they would have been justified in removing Beckett from his litigation role – there is no value in risking the employment of the other employees just to uphold the practice of non-discrimination.

As a group, we feel that the movie has not handled this facet of the ethical dilemma well enough. Right from the start, the conclusion seems to be a forgone one as Beckett was portrayed to be the haggard underdog while the partners of Wyant Wheeler were shown hiding behind their teak desks and cigars, all classic cinematic signs of them being the ‘evildoers’. Such an arrangement naturally leads the viewer to root for the underdog, Beckett, and the rest of the movie became more of a formality in seeing that justice for Beckett was done.

It would have been more interesting for the purposes of debate if Beckett was shown to have been allowed to continue his litigation work and thereafter lost some client business after his illness was discovered by the client. Doing so would allow the viewer to keep both perspectives in his mind even as the plot unravels, and prevent the viewer from taking sides too early.

Even if such an approach is not taken, a longer look at how the jury came to a decision may prove illuminating to most people. It is quite naïve to fast forward to the verdict when the jury’s timeout for such a controversial issue should be expected to produce some drama and emotions of its own as the jury members struggle to reconcile their own moral values with intellectual reason.

Ethical issues and analysis arising from the presentation of the story

The goal of the movie is to educate the audience about AIDS and its social stigma. A main point it is trying to put across is that any person afflicted with AIDS is really just a normal person worthy of compassion and love from others, once we have let go of our prejudices and looked at his character. This is concisely summed up by Beckett in the movie: “I don’t consider myself any different from anyone else with this disease. I’m not guilty; I’m not innocent. We’re just trying to survive.” The director had portrayed Miller as the normal man in the street: from having deep-rooted prejudices against homosexuals to finally bonding with Beckett. It can also be seen from Beckett’s family and partner, who are extremely supportive of him.

However, in trying to prove this point, the movie becomes overly didactic and sometimes comes along as being trite. For example, it fails to develop the characters in the movie entirely, showing them to be one-dimensional characters and dividing them into two camps: the good guys (supporting Beckett) and the bad guys (the partners at Wyant Wheeler). The “good guys” are portrayed in an extremely positive and empathetic light while the “bad guys” are portrayed as inhumane bigots. It forces the audience to come to the conclusion that if they are to discriminate against those afflicted with AIDS, they too will be seen in such light.

The director does try to deliver some sort of balance in the movie by showing that Beckett was partly at fault for getting infected because of his reckless act in the pornographic cinema. Nonetheless, this was only a small flashback and showed how much remorse Beckett was in, which again, stirs the audience’s sympathy for him.

Whether the director had been ethical in presenting the story depends on whether he is trying to educate the public or is directing merely for entertainment’s sake. When we juxtapose the movie against the social background in 1993 when this was made, we are more inclined to think that it was to educate the public than for entertainment because it is the first major movie to talk about AIDS, during a time when AIDS was still relatively unknown and still a taboo subject. If this movie is truly to educate the public about AIDS and its social stigma, this seems to be rather unethical, because the movie tries to foist its moral lesson onto its audience.

Evaluation of the creative and artistic merits of the movie

Miller, as a character, was also brilliantly used as a symbol to portray an average person in society. Miller’s initial reaction upon grasping the nature of Beckett’s affliction was especially telling. However, he soon realises and identifies with the effects of prejudice (as an Afro-American, he would have encountered his fair share of prejudice) on Beckett in the library scene. A bond slowly evolves between Beckett and Miller, culminating in the final scene where Miller visits Beckett on his death bed and shares a moment with him. This symbolises that when a man puts aside his prejudices against a homosexual and AIDS victim, he would realise that they are more alike than ever.

The use of the aria in movie was also beautifully placed as a way to reflect Beckett’s humanity and to signify a turning point in the relationship between Beckett and Miller. The aria is a reflection of Beckett’s internal turmoil at the prospect of death. His impassioned narration together with the aria revealed his softer and more vulnerable side, which invokes the pity of the audience. The aria is also a poetic way of transitioning the lawyer-client relationship into a deep bond shared by the two.

The director also made good use of the scenes in the library, the supermarket and the bar to portray the shallowness of the public. Patrons in the library began feeling discomfort when they realised the presence of a man with AIDS. The librarian’s reaction-disgust but the social convention of good manners did not allow such outward negative expressions-is reminiscent of the way any member of the public would react. Miller’s encounter with the homosexual student in the supermarket and experiences in the bar where he was mislabelled a homosexual are indicative of the public’s tendency to jump to hasty conclusions. If a man was defending a seemingly morally-bereft homosexual man by their standards, then the only plausible explanation for his actions is that he is also homosexual.

The actors were good in their little actions which insinuate their thoughts. For instance, when the few partners were discussing at a back alley about the suit that Beckett was bringing against them, they were full of themselves that their action was justified and not wrong. However, their reaction when someone passed by the alley showed that they instinctively knew that they were wrong.

The director paid attention to details of the situation and inserted subtleties in various parts of the movie to express the mood of the scenes and the development of the characters in the story. At the start of the movie, the director showed us the daily lifestyle of the Philadelphia city and people going on normally with their lives. If the viewer had not read the synopsis, he/she would not anticipate the heavy themes ahead. The purpose of that scene, later contrasted with the public outcry against homosexuals outside the court proceedings, was to let the audience later on reflect that homosexual discrimination was lurking underneath the calm of the society waiting to be explode despite “All men are created equal.”

However, the main failing of the movie was that it was overly simplistic. The one-dimensional portrayal of characters and its pro-Beckett overtones immediately led the audience into siding with Beckett and Beckett alone. This did not allow the audience to ponder and reflect in their own actions as it morphed into a David-Goliath story of claiming justice for a disadvantaged individual. Had it been richer in character development or more balanced, the average audience member would no doubt have left the theatre richer for the experience.


Philadelphia is a beautiful movie which showed perceptive insights into an AIDS victim perceptively in a poetic sort of way. The ethical dilemmas presented in the movie were dilemmas faced by the public but had never thought about deeply. While it was undoubtedly hard hitting, the superficial character development weakened the strong statement sent out in the movie because it did not allow viewers space to think and evaluate. Nonetheless, the dilemma of discrimination brought up in the movie is still very relevant today and this movie may serve as a good starting point for those who wish to study the ethics of discrimination. One must note, however, that as culture evolves towards the acceptance of homosexuality as a way of life, the ethics of the movie would evolve along with it.


ustrate your answers with relevant examples drawn from English law. Using a thought experiment (The Trolley Problem) I will analyse highly debated issues and examine the moral, ethical and legal implications of each. Though alike and often confused, there are distinctions between ethics and morals. Morals tend to vary between individuals while ethics is a “prescriptive code”. To aid me illustrate these differences and different approaches when dealing with such delicate ethical and moral dilemmas I will use the theories of prominent legal theorists Lord Patrick Devlin and Herbert Lionel Adolphus Hart. Both of whom dealt with moralism and paternalism. However I have chosen these two theorists as they represent totally different points of view of how we as individuals and as a society should tackle these problems; this is what I intend to elucidate throughout my essay.

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As I mentioned I will now use the trolley problem developed by Philippa Foot to evaluate the problems facing ethical issues and the theories developed to attempt to create a solution to them. The trolley problem; a trolley is running out of control down a track however in the trolley’s direct path there are five people who have been tied to the track. Fortunately, it is possible to flip a switch and lead the trolley down a different track and avoid the group. Unfortunately, there is a person tied to that track too. Should an individual flip the switch? For purpose of the thought experiment participants are told that there are no other alternatives e.g. stopping the trolley, freeing the people tied to the track etc. The only possible options are to ensure the trolley remains on the same track resulting in the trolley inevitably killing five people tied to the track or flipping the switch and therefore be accountable for the death of the person tied to the alternative track. The options are; either not play apart in the death of five or prevent their deaths by flipping the switch and actively play apart in the death of one. This problem creates a moral dilemma as they raise ethical decisions which lead to outcomes which are never without negative implications. The results of the decisions made during these problems can never be seen as definitively just or wrong

Using the two possible actions for the participant disclosed by the trolley problem I will now explain the theories of Lord Patrick Devlin and H.L.A. Hart, I will then in turn relate these to the problem in hand. Firstly Hart as a Totalitarian believed that an individual has rights and therefore would not have found it acceptable to end an individual’s life by flipping the switch to save the life’s of five. Hart’s theory would believe it morally wrong to willing kill one person to save five people; we have no right to interfere with the lives of others no matter what the consequences may be. The Totalitarian approach in a sociological sense and in context with the experiment would not focus on the possible outcomes as it deeds it immoral to weigh up the pros and cons of an argument involving human life.

In contrast Devlin is a Utilitarian and would see the flip side to the argument. Instead of concentrating on the individual this approach will assess the potential effect of each decision; the choice resulting in the best outcome is the ethical way to choose. A participant following the ideas of this theory would choose the option which maximises and produces the best outcome for the group, described by Philippa Foot (1978) as “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”. This principle is known as the “greatest happiness principle” again developed by Philippa Foot (1978). Using this principle in the trolley problem would therefore lead to the participant choosing to flip the switch. Although by doing so he/she would be actively participating in the killing of the individual on the second track, they would justify their actions; saving the life of five is greater than the life of one. Although it may seem ethically wrong to pick and choose who survives in such a manner the utilitarian approach has reasoning behind it’s theory; “Utilitarianism is a suggested theoretical framework for morality, based on quantitative maximisation of some definition of “utility for society or humanity” (The Indological).This approach is often misinterpreted, it is not necessarily how it is stated with the decision always in favour of the “greatest number” although it may be the case for a large percentage of cases involving these dilemmas. In fact it is not always the greater number which prevails but actually the greatest happiness. For example if I had 100 bottles of water and there were 100 people who were not in urgent need of a drink but would simply like one for the sake of it, whereas on the other hand there were 50 people who desperately needed a drink then if following the utilitarian approach I would ensure the later would receive the refreshments.

It would be misleading and uninformative to discuss the moral and ethical problems of these dilemmas without including the legal implications and the difference between moral and legal rules:

“If someone does something forbidden by moral rules or fails to do what they require, the fact that he did so unintentionally and in spite of every care is an excuse from moral blame; whereas a legal system or custom may have rules of strict ‘liability’ under which those have broken the rules unintentionally and without ‘fault’ may be liable by punishment” (p168 +169 The Concept of Law)

Here H.L.A. Hart explains that an individual may be accountable by law if he unintentionally broke rules which are described in law as wrong however if he was to brake rules which are seen in society as morally wrong there might be a backlash from disapproving people however it is unlikely he will be punished legally. To relate this idea to the trolley experiment; it may be viewed as morally wrong to not save the lives of five to ensure the life of one but it would be legally wrong and therefore punishable to deliberately kill one to save five.

The relationship linking law and morality is no means simple or straight forward. Legal rules and moral rules both have share some likeness. According to Hart, they share a common habit of obedience within the society where they are applied. Moral and legal rules do differ: there are some legal rules that are not moral rules and vice versa. In some cases the moral and legal views overlap which create the dilemmas I have mentioned. These differences between law and morality are; law applies to everyone in a society whereas morals are more of a personal opinion and can apply to individual groups of people within a society.

Now I have outlined the ethical issues disclosed by the trolley experiment I can now put the two theorist’s theories into everyday context by using more tangible examples; I will be using the dispute of the wearing of religious symbols in French state schools and an example of conjoined twins. Both of which include moral and ethical problems, in addition to this I will outline the affect they had on Law. These examples lead to legal battles and debates in a legal sense to reach very difficult decisions, similarly to the trolley problem a perfect outcome for both parties is almost possible; one party will always feel aggrieved whatever the outcome.

In 2004 the French Government brought in new legislation banning all pupils from wearing ostentatious religious symbols. It is believed that the French president did so in attempt to safe guard the nation’s Christian roots. This new law came into power not long after the l’affaire du voile (the veil affair), where three girls of the Islamic faith were excluded from a school in France for wearing headscarf’s. As a result of the ban Muslim women can no longer wear their Hijab in schools, a Hijab is a religious practice and is a piece of clothing worn over the head. This caused uproar among the Islamic community in France and the rest of the World and has recently attracted attention from American President Barrack Obama who said that Western countries should avoid “dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear”, (The French Observer) Muslims have a right to feel aggrieved as their commitment to their faith is being shattered by not being able to fulfilling religious practices. Do the French Government or in fact anyone have the right to prevent such a practice? They have used a utilitarian approach by trying to create the greater happiness of the greater good by banning the Hijab. The totalitarian would argue that the individual in this case the female Muslims have the right to carry out their religious practice. I personally feel the ban is discriminative against a minority of people rather than an act to reduce secularism in the French state school system. The education minister has is in no doubt the ban will remain in forced “There is no question today of excluding. It is a question of convincing,” (BBC News).

Secondly I will use an example of conjoined twins, a battle of Religion Vs Medicine. A couple from Malta came to the Manchester for a complicated delivery of their Siamese twin daughters who were unfortunately joined at the abdomen. These are very difficult deliveries and their parents felt their daughters had the greatest chance of survival if the delivery was performed in the UK. Adrian Bianchi, the paediatric surgeon at St. Mary’s Hospital believed felt it was necessary that the twins; Jodie and Mary were surgically separated. The pseudonyms were given to them by court to protect their identities during legal proceedings. The reason being; Mary had a much undeveloped brain for a child this far into pregnancy and was also considerably weaker; she would not have been able to survive without Jodie. Therefore the doctors wanted to use surgery so Jodie the much stronger child had a chance to survive. However the twin’s parents were Roman Catholics and refused to allow the surgery to go ahead and did not give their consent on the grounds it was morally wrong to play God and end a human beings life to enhance the chances of another.

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Without consent of the couple the doctors had no other alternative than to go to court and challenge for the right to surgically remove the twins. They used a counter argument to that of the parents; arguing that it was morally right to try and save the life of one of the twins than lose both. This was one of the very first cases of its kinds, the judge acknowledged the courts duty to “put the welfare of each child paramount,” (Lord Justice Ward, The Maltese Conjoined Twins) but, nevertheless, decided that Jodie’s right to life and chance of living greatly outweighed Mary’s. In his leading judgment in the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Ward reasoned “no other way of dealing with it than by choosing the lesser of the two evils and so finding the least detrimental alternative.” (Lord Justice Ward) therefore her verdict ruled in favour of the Hospital. Passing from Family Law considerations to that of Criminal Law, Lord Justice Ward held: “Following the model direction given in the House of Lords in the Woollin case about the scope of intention, one should conclude that separation would involve murderous intent on the part of the doctors in respect of Mary.” (Lord Justice Ward). Here he is stating that the doctrine of double effect had no application to the case regardless of the Archbishops attempts to impose this belief. It is worth noting that the only judge to disagree with this view was Lord Justice Robert Walker. Despite his deviation with the majority the surgery was performed on the 17th November 2001. Mary died shortly after the surgery although to the medic staff’s delight Jodie survived and returned home with her parents, however everyone involved knew it would be extremely difficult for her to survive and she died relatively soon after.

Was it ethical for the Hospital staff to go against the parents religious views? There can never be a right or wrong answer however I favour the argument of the Hospital; if scientific advances allow us as human beings to give a child life in a situation where the life of the other would ultimately end that of both. Therefore I think it is in fact ethical to “play god” by choosing who has the best chance of survival. The judge used a Utilitarian approach to reach the conclusion deciding the greatest happiness of greater good prevailed. By supporting this theory for the twin’s case I do not believe it correct for every case of law vs. ethics; each of these problems requires intense examining and an open mind. I consider the medic staffs was right to involve law, law plays a huge part in what is morally right and wrong, moral limits of law are not so rigid and these kind of problems will test the theories of ethicists and philosophers of law to what are the moral limits of law.


Philippa Foot, The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect in Virtues and Vices (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1978)

Utilitarianism. Available: Last accessed 13 January 2010.

Hart, H.L.A., 1988. The Concept of law, Great Britain, Billing and Sons Ltd

BBC News. (2004). French scarf ban comes into force. Available: Last accessed 13 January 2010

The French Observer. (5 June 2009). French scarf ban comes into force. Available: • Last accessed 13 January 2010.

Luke Gormally. The Maltese Conjoined Twins. Available: Last accessed 13 January 2010.


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