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19/07/19

Have a great summer break everyone.

17/07/19

During tutor time, students will be made aware of the schools summer reading books for KS3 and KS4. Here's the list to dig into this summer. https://t.co/ozUqcqk4EZ

17/07/19

Retweetd From Harris Careers

Ever thought about being a school governor? Harris Federation are interested in individuals that are passionate about the wellbeing of our schools. For more information click on the link below. https://t.co/OIrsUb1Zdq

15/07/19

We watched the sunrise as we departed Camp Titicaca. We are now on our way to Cusco to prepare for our 5 day trek to Machu Picchu beginning tomorrow at 3am! https://t.co/dpKO98I43m

14/07/19

As we head into the final week of the year, this is a polite reminder to ensure that your child has 100% attendance, as we will continue to learn until the end of the day on Friday. We hope you have a fantastic Summer!

14/07/19

This morning we had an amazing view of the sunrise over Lake Titicaca from our tents on the beach. https://t.co/zLS4U1pqVe

14/07/19

Yesterday we enjoyed a boat trip to the Uros Reed islands where we learned about their way of life. Then onto Taquile island for lunch, and a BBQ for dinner by the beach. https://t.co/mtFQYED6Hh

13/07/19

Retweetd From WORDfest 13.07.2019

WORDFest officially opened by Sir Dan Moynihan! https://t.co/f9whZRqD7I

11/07/19

Retweetd From Harris Federation

https://t.co/KbvL5HCWNr

11/07/19

Retweetd From HarrisSchoolDirect

What a spectacular view! https://t.co/Nx9vBS1mGu

11/07/19

Retweetd From Harris Federation

https://t.co/NexfyaOeMo

11/07/19

Retweetd From Harris Federation

https://t.co/hPz7qNMwPv

11/07/19

Well done to Ayesha and Mishka for coming 2nd and 1st, in their respective year group 100m race

11/07/19

The tracks are being set up for today’s Federation Sports Day. https://t.co/nXjqvKi5Av

11/07/19

The Sports Day is here! Good luck to all participants who have spent the last few weeks practising and competing in heats for today's finals. https://t.co/jXLeM2DDpC

10/07/19

The penultimate countdown numbers game total is 415. Can you reach the total using 25 6 9 5 3 3? https://t.co/zjElwhMIB1

10/07/19

This weeks must read book is about a girl that was abandoned and grows up in an eccentric household, among the servant quarters, where she hopes for her mum to come and find her. https://t.co/egODOhukJr

10/07/19

Word of the week is quintessential. As we end the term, the prize draw for this terms looms closer. https://t.co/zPF1ntXFlG

09/07/19

We have arrived at our second camp, Camp Titicaca on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Another fantastic welcome greeted us. https://t.co/dtPntbi8z1

08/07/19

Visiting the ancient Moray ruins today on our last day at Camp Moray. Tomorrow we head to Lake Titicaca. https://t.co/AfTwkBcXyK

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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