Friday, March 2, 2012

Sophie's Choice & Virtue Ethics

Virtue ethics--the moral position that the objective of our actions is to become virtuous by acting in a way that a virtuous person would act--faces the weighty criticism that it is fundamentally egoistic. It is this criticism of virtue ethics as egoistic that makes consequentialism, an ethic that emphasizes radical selflessness, seem more appealing.

This aforementioned criticism can be illustrated quite well by considering the harrowing scenario faced by a Polish Jew named Sophie in William Styron's Sophie's Choice (I haven't read the book, but I've seen the movie with Meryl Streep). Due to the singular (in)human situation that occurred at that period of time (which for this reason furnishes many examples for the consideration of ethicists), the scene takes place in Nazi Germany in the struggle that Jews faced at the hands of the Nazis. A Nazi officer meets Sophie and her two young children; a boy and a girl. As they shuffle through a line that leads into the camp the officer tells her that she needs to choose which one of her children is to be taken away with the officer--to be taken, surely, to be executed--and which one is to remain with her. The Nazi tells a panicking Sophie that if she doesn't choose, he will take both of her children away. It is also clear that she cannot in some way sacrifice herself in order to save the lives of her children. Sophie ends up surrendering her scared little girl to be lead away by the Nazi and to keep her son with her.

The question arises: if Sophie had the opportunity to think clearly enough to make a moral decision--if she had the presence of mind to make a rational choice--what should she have chosen to do?

A consequentialist would most likely argue that the correct moral choice would be to save at least one of her children. This would be so despite the psychological trauma it would cause for Sophie; having to live the rest of her life with the knowledge that she participated in the evil that brought about the death of her beloved child.

On the other hand, a virtue ethicist would take a different approach. I want to suggest that the correct moral judgment in that case (give the fact that any rational capacity could be mustered in that situation) would be to let both children be taken away by the Nazi! In order to figure out why, it is important to identify some relevant views held by an adherent to (at least an Aristotelian) virtue ethics:

(1) One ought always act virtuously because such actions are most noble and perfect.

(2) To act morally is to act for one's happiness.

If Sophie was acting in line with (1) (as well as the particular contingent features of the context of her moral choice), she would have concluded that it is neither noble nor perfect to participate in evil (when given the choice) and this would be exactly what she was doing if she chose which one of her children was to be executed, even if that meant that she lost both children as a consequence.

Of course, at this point, a critic would chime in and say something like, "This decision is entirely and myopically selfish. Only the most hardened of egoists would claim that one's own sense of virtue is more important than the life of one's own children!" And, what about principle (2)? Surely is not for the sake of a mother's happiness that they would let both of her children die when she could save one of them! What kind of strange notion of happiness is being employed here? "I suppose," a critic may say, "that the happiness that one would be acting for in this situation would be the happiness of a dogmatist knowing that they did not compromise their relatively petty sense of honor or dignity." It is for these reasons that the charge of egoism is volleyed at a virtue ethicist; one's own sense of virtue, personal nobility and a perverted sense of happiness keeps one blinded to basic altruistic acts (By the way, this theme of sacrificing one's sense of virtue for the sake of love for another person is expressed in Lars von Trier's 1996 film, Breaking the Waves).

However, it is precisely this interpretation of (2) that is false. It is not that whenever one acts it is specifically targeted at one's own individual-here-and-now happiness. This is illustrated by Aristotle when he describes practical wisdom as the ability “to deliberate nobly about what is good and beneficial for himself, not in particular respects, such as what conduces to health or strength, but about what conduces to living well as a whole" and to act according to the goal that is sought" (VI.5). To act for the sake of happiness (eudaimonia), or beatitude, is to act for the blessedness proper to the nature of human beings as such, which is expressed by what is highest and best of human beings. It is only when one has this happiness as one's target that one can be said to participate individually in happiness. Of course, in the moment, enjoying that happiness is far off; making such decisions is heart-wrenching and horrible. One is acting not for one's private happiness but a happiness that transcends this.

In this way, the charge of egoism is unfounded. Rather than acting for a private and closed-off happiness, one is acting for the sake of what is noble and good with respect to human beings as such. In this way, if Sophie was to reject participating in the evil of the Nazi she would be acting for the happiness and perfection of herself; but not herself only, but for the happiness of her children and even the Nazi because the happiness proportionate to what is most excellent in human nature is what makes possible individual happiness. In so doing, she would be rebuffing the evil of the Nazi with charges such as, "You are are the one perpetrating evil here. Do not bring me into this; it is your choice, not mine! You ought to act according to what is most noble and good, instead of asking me to come down to lowly level. Let YOUR will be done to the ruination of your own happiness!"

Although this is a hard position to take, I think that a virtue ethicist, in order to be consistent and to make his/her position effectual, needs to avoid any moral decision that relies primarily on a consequential calculus. Rather, a consistent virtue ethics needs to be targeted squarely (and unflinchingly) at the horizon of what is uncompromisingly valuable, noble and perfect. The challenge of ethical dilemmas represented in Sophie's choice (and others such as the Trolly-Track thought experiments), is to avoid falling prey to situations that trade on consequentialist intuitions.

86 comments:

  1. It seems to me that in this case we need to distinguish two different horrors:
    1. The horror of material cooperation with the killing of one's child.
    2. The horror of choosing which of one's children will live.

    I think that in analysis it would be good to separate these out. The second horror is certainly not a good moral reason not to make a choice. Suppose two children are drowning and one can save only one, and neither is easier to save. If one saves one, it will be necessary to live with the horrible thought that maybe one did not choose fairly, that one's action came from an insufficiency of love for the other child, etc. But surely it is even more terrible to save neither. I assume you agree.

    So the relevant horror is that of material cooperation. But there are indeed times when we are morally obliged to materially cooperate with evil. For instance, if one is hiding from the Gestapo and they announce they will kill ten innocent people if one doesn't turn oneself in, it is either obligatory or supererogatory that one turn oneself in, even though doing so is an instance of material cooperation with one's being murdered. It's a harder question what to say if it's a question of one's child rather than oneself. But I am inclined to think it is permissible to turn one's child in to save ten innocents.

    Take also this case. Your son and your daughter are hiding behind different bushes. The Nazis are only looking for your son and tell you that unless you reveal where your son is, they will carpet bomb the area, killing both children. I think you should reveal where your son is, even if you know they will kill him.

    Think about this in terms of double effect. Refusing to reveal one's son's location is neutral in itself. The refusal has an unintended bad effect: the death of one's son. There is a good effect--one is not materially cooperating in that death. But is the unintended bad effect proportionate? I doubt it.

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    1. Alex,

      I started responding to your excellent observations and criticism and, alas!, it became a whole other post! In general, I address the notion of the Principle of Double Effect, the notion of moral obligation, and what I see as the logic of morality in Virtue Ethics.

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  2. I largely agree with Alexander's assessment under the rubrics of material cooperation in evil and his application of double effect, though I disagree with his example at the end of his third paragraph where he says that one may (it's "permissible") to turn in one's own child to save ten innocents as I think that the moral obligations of love are stronger and more insistent when it comes to those more closely associated with you (as Augustine says in "De civ. Dei" that we are bound to love more those who are closer to us - without, of course, shirking moral responsibilities towards those less closely associated with you).

    In Sophie's situation, her choice to save one child is morally good with the foreseeable evil side effect of the likely death of the other. Note that the death of the other child is likely, but not certain (though even cases in which the foreseeable evil side-effect is ineluctable, such as the amputation of a gangrenous limb, double effect may still apply). Choosing one child does not necessarily entail intending the death of the other, but it entails minimally permitting that evil to occur.

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    1. Mike,

      Thanks for your great comments and criticism. Instead of replying to comments piece-meal, I've written another post. I look forward to your response.

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  3. To do more justice to your fundamental moral insight, Paul, I'd like to add that Aristotle's notion of virtue is not only compatible with selflessness, but rather demands it.

    A proper, moral love of self is based on a correct metaphysical understanding of the real place of the self as a constitutive member of the community of humans ordered by the common good. If an individual human considered his good and his life as more important than that of other humans, he's mistaken metaphysically and, as a result, morally.

    This insight (that of individual humans as constitutive members of the community, and their good of the common good) enables Aquinas to argue that a proper love of self entails loving the common good of the human community more than one loves one's individual goods. More should be said on this, but I'm being called in to watch the kids now (goods of marriage!) Lol!

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  4. There's an easier way to figure it out. It's much more cooperating with evil to let them take both children. Parents would never be crazy enough to say, "take both".

    Her son can do more good against the Nazis than her daughter can - when years have passed. She made the best choice. She is not cooperating with evil, she is working against evil.

    Just my opinion, but Thomism seems to lead to some bad conclusions. I think Aquinas would be appalled at some of the conclusions reached in his name.

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    1. I disagree with your analysis Susan. To choose which child stays is likewise choosing which goes. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. There is an intrinsic causal relationship between choosing the one who lives and the action which follows (death) in regards to the one who goes. Also, you are not choosing for them to take both by not choosing at all, you are simply refusing to absolve the Nazi who must choose from having guilt in knowing he has choosen. Furthermore, it seems to me that you are implying an intrinsic higher value to the life of the male child. I offer the example of St. Joan of Arc, an influential and successful warrior woman of her time. Finally, Thomism is a system of understanding available to anyone who chooses to use it. St. Thomas doesn't own it, just as much as the understanding of those great minds who came before him didn't own what they passed on to him. We honor him by naming if after him, but we cannot conclude that anything concluded in the name of Thomism belongs to or is prescribed to by a dead saint.

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    2. Well I'm pretty sure St. Thomas would be relieved to hear that.

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    3. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of the Principle of Double Effect going on in the comments area. My first thought about the Sophie's Choice scenerio was to think, "No, she cannot choose b/c she would be committing an evil act, no matter what the consequences." But on further reflection, look at what she is choosing. She is not being asked to choose to kill a child, but to choose which child will live.

      When we look at the 3 moral determinants, we can see that no evil is committed by Sophie if she chooses to save a child. The deed itself is to choose a life to save. The motive is only to save human life, not to let another child die or to demonstrate a higher value of one child. And the circumstances (the double effects that would result) do not incur guilt either: one effect is that a child lives, the other being that another child is unable to be saved. But the bad effect is only unintentional and comes after the good effect causally.

      This is similar to the example of what to do when a woman has an ectopic pregnancy. You cannot choose to directly kill the unborn child lodged in the fallopian tube, but you MAY choose to save the life of the mother by cutting out that part of the tube. Yes, it has the unintentional effect of the child dying, but no evil was chosen. The active choice was ONLY to save life. This route is even accepted by the Catholic Church, a particularly stringent conscience on matters of human life.

      Evil enters the picture if Sophie was told to pick a child that he would kill. The action, then, would be ordered toward death, not life.

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    4. Camille Aubrey MicaMarch 20, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      Susan,
      Choosing which child is to die is in fact cooperating with the evil of the Nazi. It is leading to the overall satisfaction of the Nazi in his evil action. However, refusing to take part in this decision - refusing to play the Nazi's evil game - is morally upright. By choosing one child to die, one harms the overall goodness and happiness of human beings - for the child that is to die, for the child that is to live (feelings of survivor guilt and questioning will no doubt arise), for the one making the choice, and for the Nazi, who will only be given satisfaction in his evil action instead of witnessing a truly moral and virtuous act that may lead to change in his character. One must think of the overall effects of every action, not just the immediate quantitative consequences.

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  5. To let them take both children is not cooperating with evil. It is fairly clear that she would not be doing anything evil, because she is the victim. All the evil comes from the Nazis. Of course, if she refuse to cooperate, then both children will die. But, alas, we are all going to die. Keeping people alive cannot be the ultimate rule by which we measure our actions. If it is, then we have already lost the battle.
    Is the refusal to cooperate evil? I don't think so. There are things in life that are more important than a few more years in Earth. Things that are worth dying for. Family is one of them. I dare to say that family is sacred, because it is essential to human life. If you place the desire to keep alive above family, then you place it above something that is required in order to live a good life. You exchange a good life for more years on Earth.
    People dies, that's for sure. Sophie's children will die, as well as the Nazis. She must keep that in mind. If she give into the Nazis's evil games, then she lets evil enter within family. That's what is so terrible about this choice. It is nothing like choosing between your two children drowing in a river. There you have to choose, but you don't choose over family. Here what Nazis are doing is forcing you to cooperate in their concious effort to destroy your family. They want it destroyed, and they are asking your help to it.
    Therefore, Sophie should let them take both. They will die sooner or later, and she's not even absolutely sure that Nazis will kill them right away (perhaps war is over tomorrow, perhaps there is an earthquake that sets them free...). What she can be sure about is that if she play their game, then she has helped in profanating something sacred, something without which human life cannot flourish.

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  6. Although this is a hard position to take, I think that a virtue ethicist, in order to be consistent and to make his/her position effectual, needs to avoid any moral decision that relies primarily on a consequential calculus. Rather, a consistent virtue ethics needs to be targeted squarely (and unflinchingly) at the horizon of what is uncompromisingly valuable, noble and perfect.

    How is it that the second statement does not set up the very kind of thing the first statement claims should be avoided?

    Also, I agree with: a) Michael's conclusion in his first comment (Choosing one child does not necessarily entail intending the death of the other, but it entails minimally permitting that evil to occur); b) Sue's observation (She is not cooperating with evil, she is working against evil); and, c) Sue's conclusion (...Aquinas would be appalled at some of the conclusions reached in his name).

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    1. A) It seems to me that the faculty of practical reason would force this conclusion to be false. One can conclude that to choose which child will stay is also to choose which is to go. However, by not choosing you are not agreeing to keep or let go of either or both. You simply do not play a part in deciding which is to live or which is to die or whether either do at all.
      B) To choose which child lives is causally realted to choosing which dies so it is in fact choosing which is to die whether you intend for this consequence or not. This is intrinsically evil.
      C) see above comment

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    2. I see the argument in B).

      However, it is inconsistent to claim that there is an ostensible choice in B), yet deny that there is an ostensible choice in A).

      Since she knows the consequences of failing to chose either child, she ostensibly chooses to let both child die if she "simply do[es] not play a part in deciding which is to live or which is to die or whether either do at all."

      If there is going to be a recognition of ostenbile choices, why is ostensibly choosing to let two child die, better than ostensibly letting only one child die?

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    3. What has been overlooked is that she isn't faced with a true dilemma. She was presented with three choices, not two:

      1. Choose child A to stay with her, and child B is taken away.

      2. Choose child B to stay with her, and child A is taken away.

      3. Refrain from chooing either, and both are taken away.

      According to the choices clearly presented by the Nazi officer, a minimum of one child will be taken away and a maximum of two children will be taken away. There is no option presented which will enable none of the children to be taken away.

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    4. Regarding C), point taken.

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  7. Hi, Eduardo,
    RE your comment of "It is fairly clear that she would not be doing anything evil, because she is the victim."

    That is so true. She is not doing anything evil whether she saves one child or neither. Only the Nazis are doing something evil there.

    Common sense and being a parent yourself will tell you that she is wisest to save one. To imply that if she saves one, she is cooperating in evil is just a really weird way to think. It's insulting to her as a mother. There is no way that anything she does here is cooperating with evil.

    Did St. Maximilian Kolbe give up in the face of the Nazis? No, he did not. He thought on his feet. He solved a difficult dilemma by giving his own life. He didn't say, "Hey, Guards, why don't you just kill all of us?"

    What good comes from all the good people being dead? Let's say we care about civilization ten years after the Nazis and we are glad this fine woman's well brought up son is alive.

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    1. To say that it would be wise to save one child over another implies that you would first be a wise person. One cannot be wise in its fullest sense without having virtuousness in character. To be virtuous in character seems to necessitate a true respect for all life, especially human life. If you were indeed using your faculty of wisdom to conclude which human life is more worthy of living this seems to imply you have the ability to judge the worth of a person's life intrinsically, and to do this accurately. If not we may conclude that you would be reacting and choosing through passion or emotion which is not the same as wisdom, nor practical wisdom since this is not a practical situation. If this is the case then one can not truly be said to be choosing wisely. It seems to me that until you are put in this circumstance you would never judge the intrinsic worth of one of your children as being over or above that of the other. In fact, intriniscally there is no human life on this planet today that is more valuable than any other. This leads me to conclude that by reasoning that your choice is wise in the first place is only a conclusion you have come to in order to make reasonable an unreasonable supposition.

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    2. To say that it would be wise to save one child over another implies that you would first be a wise person.

      What wisdom says that it is better to let two children die rather than one? Or that it is better to save no children if only one of two can be saved?

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    3. The questions may sound antagnostic; if so, they ill-reflect my intention. Permit me to ask this instead: Since it is inevitable that either one or two children will be taken away, is it in some way wrong, incorrect, inappropriate, or otherwise illegitimate to view Sophie's choice as being between whether one child shall be taken away or both children will be taken away>

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  8. She is not doing evil. She is not doing evil if she saves the girl, the boy, or neither. I totally support this hypothetical woman. (If she had chosen the girl, I would have come up with a good reason for that choice).

    I can't believe anyone could seriously think she is doing or cooperating with evil. Sheesh.

    I love the Catholic church, but I'm finding this Aquinas "scholarship" over-the-top ridiculous.

    Does no one tell you guys a better way to think? Is it an ivory tower thing?

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    1. The Catholic Church would not take this "over-the-top" position. The woman is choosing life, not choosing death. See my above comment.

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  10. I'm arguing from a Thomistic perspective on double effect and material cooperation in evil, argeeing with Alexander that Sophie's choice could be morally licit. Paul's position (to the contrary) might also be able to be characterized as Thomistic (though he's actually appealing to Aristotle). Not all thomists agree.

    But Paul's two main points, it seems, seek to show that Aristotle's virtue-ethics is not egocentric and to apply that notion of virtue to a particular case.

    The way to persuade (most) philosophers is to provide the best and most cogent argumentation you can. Exciting unnecessary and unhelpful emotional agitation poses an obstacle to a reasoned debate/discussion.

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    1. Well, believe me, I don't expect to persuade (any) philosophers. I'd rather express my fears at the state of logic in cases like this.

      Someone needs to tell you: if you are thinking along and you come to the conclusion that it's better for two children to be murdered than for one child to be murdered ... it's time to backtrack and rethink the whole thing. The idea that you can instead justify your conclusion just ... well, ok, you are correct ... it makes me unreasonable and unhelpful and emotional.

      pseudo-Aquinas thinking - yuk!

      I'll leave you to your scholarly thinking for now. You are young, you will learn.
      ;-)

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  11. Since, according to Aristotle, practicing virtue is the closest man will have to achieving happiness (eudiamonia), Sophie should have refrained from participating in the evil of the destruction of her child's life. Ultimately, she would have been closer to achieving "eudiamonia" and less likely to be suicidal if she did not have the guilt of her participation in evil looming over her head. Perhaps the hypothetical Sophie lacked virtuous motivation. However, I would maintain that her moral culpability for participating in the evil might have been lessened by the force of the Nazi officer, almost making her choice involuntary.

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  12. Susan, I think that you are misunderstanding the entire point of the post. It is precisely the moral calculating that you employ when you insist that one murdered child is better than two that is in question. Instead of determining, through some supposedly rational criterion, which child deserves to be saved, we should work to determine who, in fact, is morally culpable in this admittedly drastic situation and whether we are in danger of committing evil if we attempt to cooperate with the perpetrators of such an act.

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    1. I do not see Sophie's actions as cooperating with evil, but as choosing the lesser of two evils: allowing two children to be murdered or allowing the murder of only one. What if Sophie's choice had been "She will be raped by both the Nazi officer and his assistant OR by only one of them". Would the author of the post then argue that Sophie would be lacking in virtue if she "decided" to be raped only once?


      PS: Choosing which child will live through "some supposedly rational criterion"is a harrowing and hopelessly guilt-ridden task. But the choice does not have to be rational, or even personal: it may be left to a random act over which Sophie has no control (e.g. throwing a die and saving the boy on a 1, 2 or 3 roll and saving the girl on a 4,5,6 roll, or deciding it based on the direction of movement of the nazi officer, etc.). Admittedly, a "heart-less" way to choose, but there will be no afterthoughts on having loved one child more or less than the other.

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  13. E.R.,

    How might one work to determine who is morally culpable, without engaing in 'moral calculating' while doing so? Or do you mean to suggest that non-moral means should be employed in deciding questions of morality?

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  14. I agree with the original post; Sophie should have refused to choose (although either way her moral culpability is extremely low due to the circumstances). How would the situation be different if the Nazi's gave Sophie a gun and said, "Kill one or we will kill both"? I doubt anyone above would argue she could kill one of her children herself in this circumstance. Yet this is essentially what she did. I do not buy the argument that her daughter's death "wasn't guaranteed". By saying, "Take the little girl," she sentenced her child to death. She didn't pull the trigger, but she consented to the Nazi's murder of her daughter.

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  15. This case is much similar to that of the scenario; if a train is headed for a group of people stuck on the railroad track, would you pull the lever to change the course of the train when you know that it would kill just one person on that other track when doing so? It is similar to this Sophie's Choice in that both participants must decide whether to indirectly kill more than one person by omission or actively kill one person. Under such bizarre and stressful circumstances, it is hard to place blame on the participant for any decision they choose, however not involving yourself in the situation and directly killing the person seems to be the moral choice.

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  16. AC, I deliberately used the word 'calculation' to suggest that if you were to seriously attempt to decide which child to save, you would have to do so according to some consequentialist criterion whereby some supposedly rational choice would be made. This could resemble something like the mother deciding that one child will have a better quality of life or perhaps a higher chance of financial success. Calculation, in this instance, is not the same thing as general deliberation.

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    1. ER, I will agree that there are significant differences between calcuation and general deliberation. I will also wonder why it might be thought that one involves an evaluation of consequences and the other does not. If general deliberation is not at least in part concerned with an evaluation of consequences, then there is not anything worth deliberating upon.

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    2. Also, ER, if not already familiar with it, you may possibly appreciate Dreyfus' From Socrates to Expert Systems:
      The Limits and Dangers of Calculative Rationality
      .

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  17. If I'm in a bank when it gets robbed and the robber points to me and says, "Ma'am, you put the money in my bag here (his hands are busy with the gun) or I will shoot you in the leg.", should I refuse? Am I being sort of evil if I rob that bank? Am I cooperating with evil?

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    1. Good question. Cooperating with evil is not the moral issue here as it is in Sophie's choice. Rather, it would be rash (not courageous) for you to not give that person the money, but you would, perhaps, lie and wait for your opportunity to knock the guy over the head with a bottle of scotch when he's not lookin'.

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    2. But not rash for Sophie to let both her children be murdered? Maybe she was hoping some hero (Men, where were you when this was going on? Cowering in the back of the line? And now you have opinions about it?) would hit the guard over the head with a bottle of scotch and attempt to save her children.

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    3. How is it rash for her to not choose death for one of her children, sentencing them to not only physical death but dying thinking their mother didn't love them enough to choose them? That is not rash at all but rather using the one thing you have left, your will, to reject the evil twisted things that the guards were trying to force you to do? By choosing your child to die you have a hand in their fate.

      On a purely factual note: where were the men? In a different camp. The women and children weren't with the men. Before making this discussion into something that it's not, a feminism driven demeaning of manhood, please have your facts straight.

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  18. I believe that the moral choice would be to allow both children to die, as presented in the view of the virtue ethicist. For reasons presented above, it would bring about the greatest amount of happiness and remove oneself from the evil act in all ways. But as humans, it is difficult to totally rule out the effects of consequentialism. We naturally think of the consequences of our actions. Knowing that it is in your power to save the life of your child, many would not be able to refuse this offer. And perhaps this is because they are weak, but I could not necessarily rule myself out of this group.

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  19. Virtue ethics--the moral position that the objective of our actions is to become virtuous by acting in a way that a virtuous person would act--faces the weighty criticism that it is fundamentally egoistic.

    More than one respondent above has unwittingly lent credence to the weighty criticism, that virtue ethics is fundamentally egoistic, through their asserting that (their personal sense of) virtuousness and moral character must be maintained at the expense of the life of a child. If such people are going to let both children die, one would hope that they might come up with a better reason than that their doing so constitutes evidence of their morality and virtuousness.

    Also, the argument that consequences of the decision are not to be taken into consideration has a particularly specious sheen to it, when viewed in the light of the companion argument that the decision to be made must have the consequence of maintaining morality and virtue.

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  20. I think one should always act as if God in all His/Her splendor and all-inclusiveness were materially present. In Sophie’s case I think that would be to neither cooperate nor resist the evil of the choice, but to sweetly embrace both children saying nothing.

    Our power in life and thus our responsibility too ends at our fingertips. We are not created in order to produce a better world but in order to become like Christ. If a better world were the purpose of creation then God would have made it better already. But if us becoming like Christ is the purpose of creation then that’s something that can be fulfilled only by our being willing. There is no beauty, nor glory, nor happiness as great as to willingly become like Christ. And in becoming like Christ without caring for the world, surely a better world will ensue. Indeed, who wouldn’t wish to live in a city were even a few people were as loving and as meek and as fearless as Christ? What would have more power over evil than the mere presence of such people?

    I suppose the philosophical point I am making here is that ultimately there is no difference between consequencialist and virtue ethics – as long as one considers the ethics of the situation from God’s point of view as it were.

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  21. As awful as the entire scenario is, it could also be argued that if she HAD to give up one child, it should have been the son. Based on the era this happened in, boys were raised to be the stronger sex. If the boy had been handed over, he would most likely have been more capable of escaping the camp than the girl.

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  22. I think that in this situation, an impossible choice was made in the worst possible circumstances, and that of course, Sophie was not responsible for the death of her daughter, or for the suffering her son would endure because she chose him to live. In the view of Aristotle, she is clearly being forced, and is therefore the choice is an involuntary one. Sophie does not contribute anything to the action.

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  23. I would agree with the original post in that the most ethically sound decision Sophie could have made was to avoid choosing between her children and therefore avoid any involvement (including indirect involvement) in her child's death. Since Sophie conceded to the Nazi's demands, she did indeed have a role in her daughters death and is therefore morally responsible.

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  24. I'm a philosopher too, but I find it impossible to think about this analytically -- weighing "intuitions" and making nice distinctions. The mind goes blank and dead in the face of this kind of thing, or should, and there is something horrific about discussing it in this way. The moral response to being in this situation is soul-destroying pain, and the moral response to thinking about someone in this situation is some other kind of pain. It does not seem moral to philosophize about it. (I know this will not mean anything much to a lot of philosophers.)

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    1. I take your point. However, in reflecting on such extreme and anguishing situations, we can bring forth in relief that there are transcendent values beyond bringing some good effect or other; that we have a horizon of happiness that goes beyond even a basic level of need.

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    2. Jay, I understand your point. But while it is painful to reflect analytically upon such a situation, I believe that it is our duty as philosophers to consider this and similarly difficult issues. Socrates is credited with the quote, “The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.” As with any true philosophical discussion, the purpose of Dr. Symington’s post is to impart and/or bring about further knowledge about a particular subject. Yes, it is a very sensitive subject. But, would it be moral to ignore such a subject, even if it is painful to consider? Events like this really did happen and, in some places, still do happen. Shouldn’t we analyze these situations to educate ourselves and others about how we should act if (God forbid) such an event should befall any of us? This, I feel, is our responsibility as philosophers.

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    3. Anonymous,
      It seems as if you are implying that this is a situation that one could prepare for. In reality, it is not possible to prepare for an event in which one would have to choose between his own children. When faced with a difficult situation, one is not necessarily going to reflect upon what it is he has learned about a specific topic. He is simply going to act. Also, while a certain view may make sense in a discussion such as this one, it may not make sense when the situation arises.

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  25. Sophie had no choice but to choose out of ignorance for she never had Dr Symington for Ethics. If you are going to play ball with the Nazis, there is likely not a right answer. Maybe the soldier was bluffing and maybe he was not. Perhaps he had not made up his mind what his actions were going to be when such abhorring ultimatums were issued. Once faced with these choices doing the best you can to keep the most people alive is desirable

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    1. But does this come down to quantity or quality? You don't have to take an ethics class to be ethical; in that case society would be A LOT worse off than it is. Like you said, there is no right answer when you are faced with such an evil, but there is an ethical answer. Would you rather make the conscious decision for one of your children to be killed in place of the other and send them to their death basically telling them that you don't love them enough to save them or do you stand up, regardless of the evil staring you down, and fight for what's right and show your children that they are truly loved and indispensible to you? Which of these choices would YOU make? Not as a "philosophized college student" but as a human being?

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  26. Part of me feels like this argument more or less is to shift and place blame on who will have the greater sin on their hands and how great of a sin it will be, instead of how can we try and save the most lives in this clearly terrifying situation. In my opinion, Sophie should chose one of her two children to at least save the life of the other. Maybe perhaps handing over the one she knows is more capable of handling whatever the Nazis had in store and who perhaps is in better spiritual condition. I can understand how someone would see this as she's willingly handing her child over to be murdered; however, there is also a life that she is saving. Which would pain a mother more, to lose one or both of her children? It would seem impossible for a mother under duress to make the right choice in whether or not to give up her child/children. Because she is not given the circumstances to make a fully cognizant decision, is she really held liable for what takes place? She is not willing the action and is not voluntarily complying, therefore can her actions really be held accountable? I think not, I say the sin is not hers and that the best thing to do in that situation is to try and save the lives you can.

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  27. I agree with the original post that to refuse participation in evil is the virtuous decision; Sophie should have refused to choose. Saving at least one child might seem like the best option, but by choosing which child lives, Sophie is also choosing which child dies. I think M. Graber illustrated this well by asking how the situation would have been different if the Nazi had handed Sophie a gun and told her to kill one or else both children would be killed. While killing your own child is not exactly the same as choosing that child to die for the sake of the other, the face remains that Sophie did participate in her daughter's death. The virtuous choice would be to refuse to have anything to do with the murder of her children.

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    1. "I think M. Graben illustrated this well by asking how the situation would have been different if the Nazi had handed Sophie a gun and told her to kill one or else both children would be killed."

      That is a very different case from hte original Sophie's choice: in this new case, the obvious moral decision would be for Sophie to take the gun given to her and use it to try to kill the Nazi

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  28. If I was place in Sophie's shoes, I wouldn't choose what child of mine to kill. I'm not a parent but I can imagine how hard this decision must be. I'm sure Sophie's little girl felt betrayed and unloved knowing her mother was sending her to die while allowing her brother to live. The blood of her daughter's death is know on her hands whereas if the Nazi took both children he would have more blood on this hands than he already does. In a way, her children won't suffer in the camp if both are taken. It's more likely they would have died of starvation or some other horrific way. Sophie might not even survive herself. Then what would become of her children? Sophie should have stood her ground against the Nazi with both of her children at her side, rather than watch her daughter be dragged off. The choices Sophie were presented are inhuman but she needs to pick the more virtuous one which would be refusing to pick which of her children is to die.

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  29. In Reality, given the unfortunate situation of any arising overwhelming survival context, we are all quite capable of doing to other human beings the very worst of whatever has been done to other human beings in the past. Except perhaps in the case of very very Saintly beings.

    And of experiencing or being the victim of and experiencing the very worst situation or circumstance that any human being has ever been subjected to.

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  30. Sophie was definitely placed in a challenging position. Perhaps she chose to keep her boy because he would have been the greatest use to her in the long run, that is, he might of had the ability to fend for her when he got older in a way her girl would not be able to. Or perhaps she thought her girl would experience greater abuse in the prison camp and through out life wanted to spare her even greater evil. Despite the reasons she made the momentary decision she made, it does seem that the right choice would be not to choose. In choosing, she becomes the one whom the moral guilt would fall. In this situation there doesn't seem to be a less of two evils to choose from.

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  31. Meghan S.
    I think that Sophie was wrong to choose one of her children to die. Despite what her thought processes were in choosing the boy over the girl, it still was not the most excellent way she could have acted. The fact that the little boy knew that he was chosen over his sister could cause psychological and emotion distress ("Why did she choose me?" "Am I as dispensible as my sister?" etc). The little girl, of course, before she was taken away would feel unloved, unwanted, and unimportant in the last moments of her life. And what if she wasn't being taken to be killed? And what if the circumstances allowed her to see her mother again? The emotional and psychological damage done to her from that situation would not be easily erased, if it was ever erased at all. I think that, though it would be heartbreaking for the mother, she should not have chosen.

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  32. I think it would be better to live with no children and know you did not choose, than to live with one child knowing you chose.

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    1. Talk about victim blaming...geez...she saved one of her kids at the last minute...and felt guilty her whole life for not saving the other...and was tortured about it by her supposed boyfriend...

      I say...damn...good Sophie...you did your best...and thank god I didn't have to choose.

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  33. I agree with the original post's analysis of the circumstances that it describes. But that situation is not necessarily the one in Sophie's Choice. For my point I must note that Sophie was an apparently devout Catholic at the time of her arrest, not Jewish as the original post indicates, and it is very probable that she had been raising her children in the traditionally Catholic manner (baptized as infants, confession at the age of reason, and so on). If we are using the movie as standard, then it is clear that Sophie's son has sufficient use of reason to be held accountable for his actions (i.e., he is capable of committing mortal sin and losing sanctifying grace), but this is not clearly so for her daughter. It is possible that her daughter was below the age of reason and therefore not capable of mortal sin and losing sanctifying grace. Let us suppose that to be the case (i.e., that both children are baptized, the son may not be in a state of grace, but the daughter certainly is). In this case, the daughter if killed would certainly go to Heaven, but the son if killed might go to Hell. As a believing Catholic Sophie would know that preserving a person from damnation is more important than even preserving that person from murder. I submit, given this circumstance, that it would be morally licit for Sophie to act under the principle of double effect. While Sophie ought not to directly participate in the murder of her daughter and say, as she does in the film, "take my daughter," she could will that her son be preserved from death, saying, "don't take my son," even though she permits the bad effect of her daughter being taken.

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  34. I would have to agree with your suggestion that the correct moral judgement in this case would be to let the Nazi take both children. The act of choosing which child is going to die is participating in evil in my opinion. For people that do not have children of their own it would be harder for them to understand I think. But when it comes to your children there is no way you can make a choice. You are there parent, and you are there to protect them. You would not be able to live with yourself. If someone came to me and told me to choose between my children it would be over my dead body, but I guess that isn't an option here.

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  35. When one is under pressure, one's reason can become overcome by a passion. In Sophie's sake, her correct reasoning to do the more morally correct option (that is to not make a choice) may have become altered due to an extreme amount of fear. In such a case of immense fear, it is natural instinct that life always appears to be better than death. This may cause Sophie to make a involuntary decision between her two children, that in other circumstances would be looked on as a completely immoral act. It is acknowldged, however, that as Aquinas would say, even though Sophie was overcome by passion and, thus, did not have the ability to reason between right and wrong, she still voluntarily became controlled by the passion. As a result, the culpability would be greatly diminished but not altogether removed. The point is, however, that in such a case, Sophie may have been controlled by the passion of fear, and thus may NOT have been able to choose virtue ethics over the "life over death" Utilitarian approach.

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  36. Jay, I understand your point. But while it is painful to reflect analytically upon such a situation, I believe that it is our duty as philosophers to consider this and similarly difficult issues. Socrates is credited with the quote, “The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.” As with any true philosophical discussion, the purpose of Dr. Symington’s post is to impart and/or bring about further knowledge about a particular subject. Yes, it is a very sensitive subject. But, would it be moral to ignore such a subject, even if it is painful to consider? Events like this really did happen and, in some places, still do happen. Shouldn’t we analyze these situations to educate ourselves and others about how we should act if (God forbid) such an event should befall any of us? This, I feel, is our responsibility as philosophers.

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  37. K. Landeche
    Similar to others comments, I think that Sophie made the wrong decision in choosing which child to kill. At first, I liked that someone said that she was choosing which child to live instead of which one to die, but after thinking about it I feel that is just sugar coating the reality. In choosing which child is to live, as a result she has chosen which one of her children is to die, which is not following virtuous ethics. Thus, in a perfect world, Sophie would not have chosen to maintain her nobility and happiness.

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    1. ** Thus, in a perfect world, Sophie would not have chosen in order to maintain her nobility and happiness.

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  38. M. Kennedy
    After making the decision to NOT get involved in the evil action of sending one child to die, and watching them both walk away to their death, for me there would be an enormous guilt. Undoubtably my first response would be to give up my life for my children, but seeing as that would not be able to happen, I would feel terrible for not getting involved. It seems that being virtuous sometimes means stepping outside of a situation to avoid the evil, even if loved ones are heavily tied to that situation. It is hard to believe happiness could come out of that guilt; however, I am convinced it can. As a person who is committed to virtue, one must seek the dignity of a person. In choosing life for one person, one contingently chooses death for the other, and that creates massive evil. You "save" one child's life, but that child is forced to live with the guilt and unhappiness for the rest of his life. The virtue ethics P. Symington (and Aristotle) proposes makes sense, for happiness is eventually found, not just for the mother, but children, and Nazi. All in all, to be a virtue ethicist, one must ALWAYS be a virtue ethicist, you cannot rely on consequentialist tendencies.

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  39. 1.) First off, I would like to bring into the discussion that by consequentialism alone, it might also be the correct decision to allow both to die rather than choosing on child over the other. Yes, in that situation the happiness of the son who survives is great, but eventually it will turn into guilt and unhappiness. The mother would feel greater unhappiness personally for allowing her child to die. The girl's unhappiness, on her way to death would be great. This is not just because she is afraid of death. If this was the case, then this unhappiness would merely be doubled if both children were sent off to die. This is referring to the unhappiness she would have felt knowing that her mother did not choose her. If this unhappiness is greater than any relief that the son of the happiness of the survival could have, then by consequentialism, the act should not occur. Her fear of death, sadness in her mother's choice, has much more power because it is the last feelings of her life. How could the consequentialist know which feeling would outweigh the other to maintain the greatest happiness?

    2.) My second point deals with the Virtue Ethics argument. I agree that by the first principal, it is wrong to choose one child to die. According to following true virtue and goodness, one ought to not participate in this evil. However, according to the second principal, I am not as convinced.

    It is said that Sophie would, in her decision to not choose between her children, in her sticking to the true virtues, cause happiness, not only for herself, but to the whole. She would cause happiness for her children, for the Nazi. Therefore, it continues that if she chose evil she would be causing the opposite of happiness, pain or unhappiness, not only to herself but to the whole, including the children and the Nazis.

    Sophie, by choosing the route that would cause happiness, by choosing to not decide between her children, gives the power of the situation back to the Nazi. She allows him to choose, with his free will, whether or not to perform the evil act. If the Nazi choses the evil act though, he will be causing unhappiness and pain just as Sophie would have in her decision to choose one of the children to live. This unhappiness, as in the case of Sophie, will not merely affect the Nazi, but the unit as a whole. It will affect the children and Sophie herself.

    This is where my confusion lies. How do you know which is the greater of evils. Both Sophie's decision to have one child die and the Nazi's decision to have both die would be evil and would cause unhappiness to the whole. There is evil being done either way. Why, according to this point, would Sophie not choose to allow one child to live, when either way the evil is being done and the deviation from happiness is created?
    According to the first statement given in the post, Sophie’s morally correct decision would be to not choose one child to die and one child to survive. My argument is that the second statement does not make that any clearer or add a more sound argument to the first.

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  40. This is a most interesting dilemma. Fun to think about- though I daresay not so fun if one is caught in Sophie's place in the middle of it. Nevertheless I find it almost humorous, if one looks at it from the standpoint of the worth of a human being. Lets assume a human being has infinite worth, which may or may not be a big assumption for some and which unfortunately I cannot spend time proving here. Assuming a human being does have infinite worth, Sophie's Choice becomes rather an absurdity. How can one be expected to choose between infinity and infinity? Try doing the math. It simply doesn't work out. In fact, it's absurd to try. So, if one looks at the problem from this angle, one ends up with the same answer as a Virtue Ethicist. To choose between two humans, one would need to devalue them, take them off their pedestals of infinite worth, and choose some characteristic or other. (e.g. in this case Sophie may have chosen her son because he could carry on the family name) This would be unacceptable.

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  41. I believe the split that is occuring within the debate on this post is based on how it is perceived in two opposite lights. Moral understandings are being formed off of unidentified a priori principles.
    1. Dr. Symington is analyzing this question based on the idea that by choosing, Sophie is cooperating with the Nazis in the death of one of her children.
    2. Those arguing against Dr. Symington's position have implied in their responses that by not choosing she is allowing both of her children to die. Thus her decision gives life to one of her children. So not choosing would be a sin of omission.
    I believe that Dr. Symington's reason is correct, reguarding his perception of the situation. On the other hand, I choose to look at the situation through the second view. I believe that this is the better choice because it gives Sophie the opportunity to choose life versus be consigned to death.
    In response to earlier posts. I understand both children to have equal value thus the decision should not be rationally based on which has the better ability to live throught the concentration camp so that they can experience the life Sophie is giving to them. The boy would be better able to survive. This does not mean that he has more value than the girl but simply
    In response to Dr Symington's statement to force the Nazi to do evil and not participate, in certain situations we are forced to cooperate with evil. In fact, in certain situation it is more morally correct to cooperate. For instance, when someone lays down their life for another due to a human evil, they are cooperating with the evil force and with the evil of their own death. Yet, it is still a greater good, in virtue theory, it is the greatest act of virtue. Thus, Sophie's decision can not be justified in forcing the Nazi to do his will and not choosing evil for herself.

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  42. The act of choosing between one child or another may seem wrong when first presented. But when looking at a similar situation an answer may appear clearer. What if a mother went swimming with her two small children, and they both began to drown. The mother for some extenuating circumstances cannot rescue both drowning children, but can only save one. Should she sit on the shore and wave goodbye to both her children as they die? Or should she save one. I cannot imagine the heartbreak a mother would go through in this situation, or in Sohpies. But I do think that it is better to save one child if you are able, rather than to let both die.

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  43. Dr. Symington,
    After reading your blog on Sophie's Choice I found it appealing that you side with the double effect of saving one child and not the other with the intention of saving a life. But personally I would do the same thing, but if it were allowed by the Nazies I would have sacrificed myself for the sake of both my children to be alive. Aristotle would say that it would be a greater good for Sophie to sacrifice herself if she were allowed to do so. But based on the circumstances, she was right in doing what she did with the intention of saving at least one life and not the other.
    Thanks,
    Jordan Hudson

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  44. I agree with the virtue ethicist point of view. Heartless as it seems to turn your back on both children and inevitably allow both to die, if I was in Sophie's position I think that I would be too upset and too dumbfounded to be able to make a choice. The consequetialist argument seems more appealing in the idea that you would save one life but you would be simultaneously participating in the evil. By approaching this situation as a virtue ethicist, Sophie would maintain her sanity (as much as she could after losing two children) and not fall into the consequentialist trap.

    -Brittany Ziarnowski

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  45. I must agree with the Aristotelian view that you mentioned, as Sophie's choice is in fact null and void, as it is in fact involuntary, due to force by the Nazi soldier. Due to the act being involuntary, it is also therefore not an act against virtue. I would personally agree with Aristotle, as I could not willingly send one child to die, even if it meant that the other child would survive. One must look at the intention of the act in order to determine if the act is good or evil. In the case of Sophie's choice; however, she is not able to make the morally good decision, as she is under force.

    Danielle Bonnesen

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  46. M. Girard

    The dilemma in Sophie's Choice really does make one question what they believe. It is easy to say that you believe that one ought always to do the right thing, no matter the consequences. But, as seen in this movie, sometimes the consequences are indeed heavy to bear and they deal with either life or death. When having to decide between what is moral or immoral, is virtue or vice, or is to bring happiness or despair, it is always better to look ahead. In the moment, it is easy to go with your first instinct (and in this case, it would naturally be to choose to save one of the children). However, it is when you look ahead that you can recognize what P. Symington says, which is that "One is acting not for one's private happiness but a happiness that transcends this." Only then do you realize what is the right choice. All men are looking for happiness and all men are looking to do what is the right thing. Yet, when faced with terrible consequences for committing an act, it is always better to look ahead and recognize that there may be "a happiness that transcends this" and may be discovered at a later time. Virtue will never go unrewarded.

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  47. How is it rash for her to not choose death for one of her children, sentencing them to not only physical death but dying thinking their mother didn't love them enough to choose them? That is not rash at all but rather using the one thing you have left, your will, to reject the evil twisted things that the guards were trying to force you to do? By choosing your child to die you have a hand in their fate.

    On a purely factual note: where were the men? In a different camp. The women and children weren't with the men. Before making this discussion into something that it's not, a feminism driven demeaning of manhood, please have your facts straight.

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    1. please disregard this, it was posted in the wrong place. it was meant as a direct response to much earlier comment.

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  48. An above comment mentioned how when the woman's son grows up, all involved will be glad that he was saved. The problem with that is the fact that what if the daughter knew the cure to cancer? or what if she grew up to become a strong humanitarian and saved hundreds of lives with her efforts? By being forced to choose just one of her children, "sophie" not only killed the other but she also damned all of the people that her daughter's life could have touched. The same argument can also be used if she had picked the daughter to be saved. "Sophie" would have been better off to give her own life, even if their were no assurances that her children would live, because by doing so she alone was responsible for the action of taking her life away. I would still say, even though she was under force, that Sophie made an immoral choice in choosing to save just one of her children.

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  49. An interesting thing to note in looking at many of the responses would be that those arguing based off the principle of double effect see Sophie as choosing to save the life of one child, while those looking at this based off virtue ethics see the decision to be condemning one of the children to death. However, in the original formulation of the question, Sophie is choosing two things: which child will live and which child will die. Thus, in making any decision, Sophie is choosing to agree to the murder of one of her children. Therefore, it doesn't take into account the full gravity of her choice to say that she was merely choosing which child will live, because the choice also was to choose which child to condemn.

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  50. Sophie was faced with a decision that no human being should ever have to make. In her duress, desperate for the lives of her children, she decided that one child was better than none. But what about the other child, the child not chosen? Imagine, walking to your death with the last thing in your mind being that the one person who was supposed to keep you safe, your mother, has justr chosen for you to die so that your sibling may live. This child was thrown to the wolves with her final moments full of feeling of worthlessness and being completely and utterly unloved. What is ethical about that? Think of Sophie, the mother, living the rest of her life with her daughter's blood on her hands.

    In our lives we will be faced with evil, some stronger than others. And when those most difficult decisions come around, we cave into them? Sophie had a choice, not between her children but between refusing evil's double edge sword and participating in it's vindictive games.

    So what would you do? Would you give up, or would you fight?

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  51. There is no right answer here. That's what makes it a difficult choice. Once the guard spotted Sophie there was no winning for her or her children. Every choice would have caused trauma at that point. Poor woman. I cried when I saw the film.

    Anyhow just want to add that Sophie was Polish Catholic not Jewish.

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  52. Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.

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  53. Sophie's choice is not a choice -this is a coerced situation. Starting to analyze from the default of 'choice' is misleading. There is no choice here.
    Let us first talk about choice, free will, and agency and then we may realize that the author of the book and filmmaker chose 'choice' as an ironic title to signify the lack thereof. It is not meant to be taken literally.

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  54. Either choice was a Catch-22. If Sophie had opted to not choose, thereby allowing the Nazi to kill both her children, she would always know her option caused the death of both. However she could probably better cope mentally the rest of her life accepting the personal misery of having no surviving children, than knowing the misery one of her children would suffer (even for minutes) knowing their mother picked the other sibling to survive. However, if you put this option into the hands of a stranger, it's a whole different ballgame .(Obviously the 'choice' in my fictitious scenario would never happen in real life, but I'm just using it to show how differently it might affect our opinions.) Lets suppose you had a babysitter watching your twins, when your house catches fire. You arrive home to see your babysitter outside alone, and no fire truck yet on the scene. The whole house is ablaze, just as a fire truck arrives. Your twins have separate bedrooms, on opposite sides of the house and are screaming for help from their windows. The captain orders his 3 men to not attempt a rescue, as it's almost guaranteed the house will collapse momentarily and kill anyone inside. However, he secretly tells you he'll go around the back and is willing to risk his own life to try to enter the house. But because both ends of the house are equally compromised, he says you must choose which child he should try to save, as the risk is the same for both. I wonder how many of us who would have refused to make any choice in Sophie's scenario, because we couldn't live with the guilt of choosing one child over the other, would also tell the firefighter not to bother entering the burning house for the same reason, knowing neither will survive? Or would we choose to direct the captain to at least try to rescue one child, rather than watch both die?

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  55. I watched this movie a long time ago and only read the reviews today. Funny, I never thought about her choice being between choosing which child lived and which child died. I always thought about it as a choice of uncertanty. She choose which child would have a more uncertain outcome. And she choose the "baby child". At that moment when she had to make a quick decision her reply was "take my baby (younger child)". Only later did she state the sex of the child. In the irrationality of the moment, where she had to make a QUICK decision, I think she was guided by the age of the child and not the sex. Also, it did not appear, while standing in the line with the other prisoners, that she knew they were being taken to the gas chamber. She wasn't fully aware where she was going. By choosing the "baby child" - the girl she couldn't have been certain she was sending her to death immediately. Perhaps she thought the younger child would have a better chance of survival since younger children provoke more sympathy in people? Especially a young baby girl. Since she was put under such huge pressure by the german nazi, she couldn't have made a rational choice, it was a spur of the moment decision, it could have been only partially concious. What the core of her actuall tornment and the source of her guilt was the CONCIOUS choice she made to call out to the Nazi again a to ditiguish herself from the Jews telling him that she is Christian and not a Jew. Had she not decided to call out for him, perhaps she would have never been given the otion to choose between her children.

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  56. Awesome blog posted. Appreciate for sharing such a great blog.

    Patience is a Virtue

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