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22/03/19

Easter Break starts from Friday 5th April 2019 - School breaks up at 12.40pm. For more calendar reminders, visit our website: https://t.co/7xVRzjVLaZ https://t.co/ryMHs0qSuE

21/03/19

Retweetd From HGABR Sixth Form

Some amazing Y12 revision wheels being created here in Business Studies. https://t.co/rFzERIRNfu

21/03/19

Creating the piece herself, the dance shows an internal conflict. https://t.co/70bC1i9jHv

21/03/19

A little snippet from a beautiful solo piece by a Y11 student. https://t.co/kChrorGCS0

20/03/19

Retweetd From Harris Careers

Are you looking for a Coordinator of Sixth Form role? Apply now https://t.co/SoZOE847ij https://t.co/yNeTjGzhn8

20/03/19

Countdown numbers game this week is to reach 158 using 7 2 2 9 4 4. Check out the other challenges and see how close you can get. https://t.co/tB6zS7OnTv

20/03/19

Quote of the week: “It is motive alone that gives character to the actions of men.” By Jean de la Bruyere

19/03/19

Check out this weeks Must Read book - Stargazing for Beginner. https://t.co/VezyRWfMAm

19/03/19

This weeks current topics for discussion in tutor time focuses on two educational topics. The two recent stories to hit the news surrounding the admissions scandal in the USA and the repercussions on students since the maintenance grant was abolished. https://t.co/G7TCdlfXLL

19/03/19

This weeks Word of the Week is surreptitious. This word can be collected from the yellow faculty. https://t.co/RiKWc5Lj8j

18/03/19

This weeks focus in assemblies is a reflection on last weeks celebrated . Students will explore literacy around the world & how books teach us about the relationships between literacy, economics, morality & many other areas. https://t.co/oMuoV42q8o

18/03/19

Where does the sky start? If our skin cells renew every seven years, what makes you the same person as you were 7 years ago? Is it better play well and lose or play badly and win? Do we have free will? If I borrow a million pounds, am I a millionaire?

18/03/19

This weeks reflections programme has students talking about what a 'thunk' is. Students will explore a series of everyday statements and questions that help you to look at the world in a whole new light.

17/03/19

Retweetd From Harris Federation

Thank you to our Governors for giving up your precious time to attend today’s conference. Thanks also to Colleagues that ran the sessions & to for the keynote. We appreciate you all https://t.co/zUw6lTOZrb

15/03/19

Retweetd From Science at HGABR

Some amazing Pi bakes from the girls at HGABR https://t.co/5vG3zOUe3m

14/03/19

Retweetd From HarrisSchoolDirect

It's great to catch up with some of our &Classics today at Spelling-bee! https://t.co/OAPR2kaXYK

14/03/19

Retweetd From Step into Dance

Huge congratulations to who won the final this week! We're mega proud of you & all the other Step into Dance schools that took part & St Angela's! https://t.co/bsNOZHSbmX

13/03/19

Countdown this week is to reach the total of 188, using 1 7 6 3 3 25. A special well done goes to Kim in 8B1, who correctly answered last weeks math's puzzle. https://t.co/fmgmCdAjEZ

13/03/19

Quote of the week: "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." By Leonardo da Vinci

13/03/19

are with our students today in a workshop about the production The American Clock, which the group are going to see tomorrow. https://t.co/zdevMiuHUF

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Posted on May 27th 2018

Academic Corner - What is the right thing to do?

This was the challenging and worthy subject of a recent Academic Lecture. You have £30; should you buy something for yourself or spend it on a friend? You’ve forgotten to buy your mum a birthday card; do you admit you don’t care enough about her to remember or lie and say it got lost in the post?

For centuries philosophers have tried to come up with water-tight, fail-safe equations to apply to any situation you might find yourself in and establish what the ‘right’ thing to do is. In order to find answers to these tricky scenarios we considered two of the most famous ethical theories: utilitarianism and rule-based theories.

Utilitarianism argues that an action is right if it produces the highest utility (utility being the overall balance of pleasure and pain produced by an action). Bentham, the famous 18th Century ethicist, stated ‘Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do’.

In contrast to Utilitarians, Kant, another 18th Century philosopher, argued that acts are right or wrong in and of themselves, because of the kinds of acts they are and not simply because of their ends or consequences. Duty is not based on the pain or pleasure of the outcome, but on a set of immovable moral principles; the categorical imperative.

To illustrate what these theories mean in practice, we looked to the ‘Trolley Problem’. This notorious dilemma outlines the following situation:

         
   

There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?

   
         

Both theories, rule-based and utilitarian, argue the best option is to pull the lever, thereby killing one person rather than 5. For the utilitarian this is because it’s a lesser evil to kill one person than five. For the rule-based ethicist, by pulling the lever you are acting in accordance with the principle that it is wrong to kill to avoid the deaths of five people. That this will result in the death of one person does not jeopardise your moral purity.

The dilemma becomes more interesting with the introduction of the ‘fat man’. In this problem, instead of a switch to divert the trolley there is a fat man on a bridge who, if you push off it, will stop the trolley, thereby saving the five people in its path but losing his own life in the process.

Interestingly men were more likely to be happy to sacrifice the fat man than women. People were also more likely to be happy to push the fat person off the bridge if they were male. So does this mean men always take a utilitarian, greatest-happiness approach when faced with moral dilemmas?

Finally, we considered Winston Churchill’s tactics during the Second World War. He, controversially, intentionally mislead German bomber planes during the Blitz so that they thought they were dropping their V-1 bombs on central London and Parliament, they were actually dropping them on areas of south London, considered to be less important, such as Bromley. He took a utilitarian approach – was it the right thing to do?

By Miss Heaton-Armstrong