Would I Save My Dog or the President?
If my dog and the president were both drowning and I could only save one, I would save my dog even though it would be better for the world if I saved the president.
This statement does not violate Q1 if you do not consider human life inherently more valuable than animal life.
This statement does not violate Q2 so long as you would allow another person to make the same type of decision (for example, you wouldn’t blame a person for saving their dog instead of you).
This is a very different statement than the one about your child and the president. In this case, your dog might be considered a part of your family group, but it is not part of humanity. Does the humanity group trump the non-human family group for you?
Consider what you would do in these situations.
- You are at the circus and a lion escapes and attacks you. You get the lion in a position where either you will choke it to death or it will escape and eat you. The lion tamer has a gun and can either shoot the lion and save you, or shoot you and save the lion. He has raised the lion from a kitten, spent years training it, and works with it every day. Would you consider him morally wrong if he shot you?
- Your dog and a homeless stranger both fall into a rushing river. You can only save one of them. What do you do?
- A satchel with a million dollars in it and a homeless stranger both fall into a rushing river. You can only save one of them. What do you do?
- Hitler falls into a rushing river. You can save him or watch him drown. What do you do?
You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.