Philosophy Question

Learning Goal: I’m working on a philosophy multi-part question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Apply the principles of Utilitarianism to the following case:

Jim, a botanist traveling in South America, comes upon a public execution in a small town. A military captain has lined up twenty Native Americans. He explains to Jim that they have been chosen at random from the local population, which has recently been protesting against the government. The captain offers Jim a guest’s privilege. If Jim wishes, he can select one of the Native Americans and shoot him himself and then the other nineteen will go free. Otherwise, the execution by the captain’s henchman, Pedro, will go ahead as planned.

What would a Utilitarian do in this case? What would you do and why?


(Papers must be 3-4 pages of double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font–that’s a minimum of 3 full pages, not 2 pages and a little bit on the third page)

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