Today's Learning Goal
Dip your toe into the pool of Moral Philosophy!
This Project's Essential Question:
How should the government balance security (welfare), liberty, equality and virtue in order to create just laws?
Starter: Trolley Car Dilemma Case #1
Suppose you are the driver of a trolley car and your trolley car is hurtling down the track at 60 mph. At the end of the track, you notice 5 workers working on the track. You try to stop but you can’t because your brakes don’t work. You panic because you know, for sure, that if you crash into these workers, all 5 will die. You feel helpless until you notice that off to the right is a side track and at the end of that track is just one worker working. Your steering works so you know that if you turn right, you could avoid killing the five workers but certainly kill the one at the end of the track. What would you do? Go straight ahead or turn right? These are the ONLY two choices. Defend your reason.
*The trolley problem is a thought experiment in ethics, first introduced by Philippa Foot in 1967
1. Discuss the Trolley Car Dilemma Case #1
Segue: But how exactly can we reason our way from the judgments we make about CONCRETE situations to the PRINCIPLES of justice we believe should apply in ALL situations? Should there be basic rules/principles that we adhere to across all situations, or does it matter on the context?
2. Discuss case #2
Trolley Car Case #2
This time you are not the driver, you are an onlooker standing on a bridge overlooking the track. Down the track comes the trolley car, same situation is at hand. Except, now, you’re not the driver and you REALLY feel helpless until you notice, standing next to you, leaning over the bridge, is a very large man. And you could give him a slight shove and he would fall over the bridge, onto the track, right in the way of the trolley car, he would die, but he would spare the five. Now. How would you push the large man? Explain.
3. Watch this Video reenactment of this dilemma: Does it add to our discussion at all?
4. "Is it ethical to use violence to fight hatred/bigotry?" seminar reflection analysis
NOW, let's get back to the Philosophy of JUSTICE!.....
5. Powerpoint Lesson: Introduction to Moral Philosophy and our next book Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel (Links to important documents are on the DOCUMENTS page, under the heading "Moral and Political Philosophy")
6. Hand out books and go over the reading schedule (write this down on a sticky note in your book) (B.O.C= Read these pages by the beginning of the class on the days listed below)
*Note: 1-5 means pages 1 THROUGH page 5 (including page 5) but start and end reading at obvious section titles
7. Read aloud the first page of Justice (real-world relevance here folks!!)
8. Begin reading "Doing the Right Thing"- Chapter 1 of Michael Sandel's book, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?
Required to only read these pages, but I recommend reading the entire chapter!
Spokesperson Notetaker Taskmaster
Humanities 11 Teacher at Animas High School