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Is it moral to kill if the lives lost result in the saving of a considerably larger number of others?

I thought about this after watching some videos on Chronic Wasting Disease, which is a transmissible neurodegenerative prion disease among deer. Principally, the main method of containment revolves around culling infected populations and maintaining surveillance on spread.

Could you foresee there ever being such an infectious disease among humans where the moral thing to do would be to kill infected people?


There already have been such diseases. We killed chickens on mass when Bird Flu appeared and we often do this kind of thing to animals. But we have not with Ebola or Covid 19.


I believe this is called Utilitarianism. "The action that provides the best outcomes for the greatest number of people is the correct one to take."

All depends on what ethical theory you prescribe to I suppose.


*en masse

Okay, suppose we finally reach a point where a bacteria reaches antibiotic resistance to many if not all medications for treating infections and is easily transmissible outside of clinical settings. Would it be moral to kill a person with such an infection knowing that there would be a real possibility for the disease to become endemic and thus become a large contributor to disease deaths each year?


there are so many humans people with free agency that you can't replicate the same logic to livestock. It's like trying to rid a city of rats.

Assuming that unlikely scenario a person wouldn't be killed instead studied in quarintine


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this is just a trolley problem wrapped up in biology, isn't it?


depends whether I know them or not and also who's doing the killing but not matter what I won't take responsibility for it


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>The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few
Yes, it's moral, but it certainly wouldn't feel like it to the person making the decision. Typically, affected people are sent away in isolation is the most we've done in polite society. Stuff like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leper_colony
I'm sure there are quite a few examples of human culling being done, but I can't remember any right now and I'm sure there's stuff forever lost to history.


Do you make a difference between killing someone and letting them die, should they both be done to help someone else?
You might be interested in observing triage, as that was necessary during the pandemic in badly affected countries.

It seems to me, the willingness to sacrifice is there. However the moral value of the sacrifice would also depend on the range of alternatives, as has been mentioned already with the proposal of quarantine.
Should there be a situation in which no alternative can be accepted, I believe eradication will be practiced and seen as moral.


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But I was not speaking French???

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