Many of you will have heard of the ‘plank of Carneades’ thought experiment, which asks us to imagine two shipwrecked sailors, who both see a plank that can only support one of them. Sailor A gets there first, but he’s pushed off by Sailor B, who then paddles away, leaving Sailor A to drown. The issue then is whether or not Sailor B can plead self-defence if he’s tried for murder.
Fewer of you will know that something like this happened in real-life, and that it became a fairly celebrated part of English case law.
And hardly any of you will know that I’ve developed a new interactive activity at Philosophy Experiments, which uses a couple of real-life scenarios to look at whether it can ever be morally justified for someone to end another person’s life (assuming that they are not under direct physical threat, that the other person hasn’t consented to being killed, etc).
Try it out now. Let me know what you think. Tell your friends. And generally spread the word. Please. Thanks.