Journal Reflection #1
In your own words, what is utilitarianism? Provide an example. (150 words, 10 pts)
Learning Activity 1
You have been invited to sit on a committee that will decide who gets the next available organ transplant. Please rank each potential recipient from 1 to 5 (1 is the first candidate and 5 is the last person eligible to receive a transplant).
Melissa is a 19-year-old high-school dropout. She works as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) at a local senior care facility. Melissa lives alone, has no close family, and no significant friends or attachments outside of work. The residents at the facility love Melissa and think she is very caring.
Robert is a 31-year-old substitute teacher. Robert served in the Marines until he lost one arm and one leg in a combat situation. Robert has a fiancé and is getting married in two months. He is the track coach at the high school and runs a tutoring program for at-risk teenagers. Robert also serves as a deacon at the local church.
Ethan is an 81-year-old retired grandfather with 16 grandchildren. Ethan and his beloved wife Lucy care for many of the grandchildren during the day so the children’s parents can work. Ethan and Lucy own a farm with lots of land. They run the local animal rescue and foster many disabled and abused pets. Recently Lucy was diagnosed with dementia, and Ethan keeps track of Lucy during her “spells” to keep her safe. All the children and grandchildren gather every Sunday for dinner at Ethan & Lucy’s house and cannot imagine life without either of them.
Lucas is a 52-year-old undercover CIA agent. He is a language specialist who speaks more than a dozen languages. Lucas has led over 70 undercover operations in 30 years, saving hundreds of civilian lives. Lucas lives in a studio apartment outside of D.C. He has no immediate family, as he grew up in foster care.
Serena is a 47-year-old lobbyist for feminist causes. Serena has an accomplished professional career and is currently in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize. Sara’s accomplishments have changed women’s health care access in third-world countries. Serena has helped over 1500 women receive preventative health care in developing nations. Serena’s friends and family adore her. She has a large support system.
Melissa, Robert, Ethan, Lucas and Serena have all been given 30 days or less to live. Each person requires an immediate organ transplant to sustain life beyond that time frame. From a utilitarian perspective, rank them from one to five to decide who gets the first available organ. As a committee member, you understand the likelihood of more than two organs within a month is non-existent.
Please explain why you ranked each person accordingly. (This learning activity is worth 25 pt.)