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Title: The Right to be Left Alone as a Moral Heuristic
Authors: Evans, Michael
Advisors: Osherson, Daniel
Contributors: Hasson, Uri
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: The trolley dilemmas, as proposed by Philippa Foot (1967) and Judith Thomson (1985), are two moral dilemmas that involve making a decision about whether to kill one person to save five. Although the consequences of the dilemmas are identical, they produce divergent responses when people are asked to make the decision. To date, two significant moral principles have emerged that offer some explanation into this divergence of responses between the two dilemmas, the doctrine of the double effect and the contact principle. This paper proposes an alternative moral principle, rooted in Supreme Court Justice Brandeis’s writings, that considers the victim’s level of involvement and innocence in a dilemma, as a partial explanation of the divergence observed between the two dilemmas. The paper attempts to test whether the level of involvement of the characters is a heuristic that plays a role in the moral evaluation process.
Extent: 42 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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