Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dilemma

This is a classic moral dilemma: Suppose two people were starving and had some food, but it wasn’t enough for both of them to survive. What should they do?

Any thoughts?

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eat the food, and the other guy.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Baal Habos said...

Assuming both want to live, drawing lots appears to be the right thing to do. It seems pretty obvious, so what are you driving at?

10:33 PM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

anon,

who is the other guy? In this example you're just an objective observer

10:46 PM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

>so what are you driving at?

so one should eat the food and watch as the other dies from starvation while he lives because of luck? Maybe. But that will be hard to live with

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

youd be surprised wha the power of wanting to live can make you do.

speak to aushwitz survivors

7:47 AM  
Blogger Orthoprax said...

And here's the classic Talmudic response:

"Now how does R. Johanan interpret, 'that thy brother may live with thee?' — He utilises it for that which was taught: If two are travelling on a journey [far from civilisation], and one has a pitcher of water, if both drink, they will [both] die, but if one only drinks, he can reach civilisation, — The Son of Patura taught: It is better that both should drink and die, rather than that one should behold his companion's death. Until R. Akiba came and taught: 'that thy brother may live with thee:' thy life takes precedence over his life."

-Bava Metzia 62a

3:15 AM  
Blogger littlefoxling said...

spin,

you are back. You should e-mail us when you post since we don't check you. or maybe i should just add you to bloglines

OP,

OK, but acording to Rabbi Akiba what should they do if the food belongs equaly to both. He does not say.

2:40 PM  
Blogger littlefoxling said...

maybe we should apply horios 3:7-8

ג,ז האיש קודם לאישה להחיות, ולהשיב אבידה. והאישה קודמת לאיש לכסות, ולהוציא מבית השבי; ובזמן ששניהן עומדין בקלקלה, האיש קודם לאישה.

ג,ח כוהן קודם ללוי, לוי לישראל, ישראל לממזר, וממזר לנתין, ונתין לגר, וגר לעבד משוחרר. אימתיי, בזמן שכולן שווין; אבל אם היה ממזר תלמיד חכמים, וכוהן גדול עם הארץ--ממזר תלמיד חכמים קודם לכוהן גדול עם הארץ.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

>you are back. You should e-mail us when you post since we don't check you. or maybe i should just add you to bloglines

bloglines is the best way to go. I didn't realize you started posting again either.

>but acording to Rabbi Akiba what should they do if the food belongs equaly to both. He does not say.

right and that was really my question

2:48 PM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

>maybe we should apply horios 3:7-8

I think not. I think in this situation Rabbi Akiva might agree with the Son of Patura that both should die

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Rabban Gamliel said...

There's no jungle morality with this if that's what you're asking. Rabbi Akiva's view seems the most realistic here (hattip to Orthoprax).

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the other guy eat his fill, then eat him?

12:47 AM  
Blogger El Duderino said...

Both should eat, continue on the journey and enjoy what little they have, i.e. the food and each other.
We are all _____ away from death, the two men in the example are slightly more certain of when.
Death is a certainty, how we choose to live until that hour is up to us. Cynicism, isolation and despair or optimism, camaraderie and hope.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

el duderino,

Thanks for your thoughts. I like your style :)

11:52 AM  

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