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Critically assess the survival lottery In his article The Survival Lottery Harris suggests a situation where a possible course of action would be to kill a healthy person and use his organs for transplantation thereby saving several lives at the cost of one However the argument Harris presents which he claims to be rational does intuitively raise a certain moral repugnance The issues addressed such as whether letting die is equivalent to killing or is killing the innocent ever justified are controversial in themselves and Harriss views have been roundly criticised This Essay will examine the main issues raised by the survival lottery and attempt to prove Harriss claim that it would be a rational thing to do is in fact wrong I will not do this by appealing to some objective moral standard such as we have a duty to never kill the innocent as this will inevitably lead to deadlock and lower the debate to a matter of your own personal opinion Instead I will argue that a Reductio ad Absurdum can be levelled against Harriss argument because of the untenable consequences it would lead to By revealing the weakness of the argument for the lottery we can show why it shouldnt take place without being drawn into a conflict between consequentialist and objectivist based ethical theoriesHarriss argument is based on the maximising lives theory as he believes there is value in numbers and that two lives are twice as valuable as one From this premise he gives the example in the survival lottery of two patients Mr Y and Mr Z who are certain to die unless they get organ transplants but no spare organs are to be found They both suggest that a healthy person Mr A be seized killed painlessly and his organs be used for the transplantation They argue that this is the rational and morally correct thing to do for to not do so would be sacrificing two
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