Philosophers often use thought experiments in an attempt to refute some theory. In the particular case of ethical thought experiments, philosophers’ arguments tend to take this form:
1. Consider some unlikely situation.
2. In this situation, moral philosophy X says you should do Y.
3. Y is clearly immoral.
4. Therefore, X cannot be true.
In response, people who believe X often try to refute (2)—the idea that Y follows from X. In many cases, this is a mistake. Typically, the weakest point here is (3)—the assumption that Y is immoral. Even if we intuitively feel that Y must be immoral, our intuitions often misguide us; if we want to think clearly, we must apply rationality to our judgments whenever possible. We cannot reject a moral philosophy because of a thought experiment.
Intuitional and Rational Judgments
When making ethical judgments, people tend to rely heavily on intuition. An ethical system…
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