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1. In January of 2015, a French publication called Charlie Hebdo (a satirical newspaper) published a cartoon on its cover, seemingly mocking Mohamed. One day shortly after the publication hit the news stands, a cartoonist named Corrine Rey had to leave the office to pick up her young daughter from kindergarten. On her way back into the office with her daughter in tow, Rey was approached by two French Jihadists who were brandishing weapons. The two men told Rey to enter her code into the key pad, allowing the men access to the newspaper offices. They added that if she refused, her daughter would be shot immediately. Rey did as she was told and the men were granted access to the Charlie Hebdo offices where 12 people were immediately murdered, as well as two police officers. Eleven more people were injured in the attack. These are all real events.

1. Should Corrine Rey have been willing to sacrifice her daughter and herself rather than allow obvious murders to enter the magazine offices and possibly kill everyone? Answer the question as if you were a true Utilitarian.

2. Can a mother be blamed for only thinking of protecting her child? What are some of the real-world problems with the application of the ethical theory of Utilitarianism?

Bernard Williams’ “One Thought Too Many”

3. You survive a plane crash, but you need to evacuate the fuselage quickly. You can see two children that you could possibly save, however, your child is also alive with his leg stuck underneath one of the seats. Should you save the two strangers’ children or should you take the time to focus on freeing your own child in hopes that you’ll get him out of the wreckage in time before it catches fire?

4. What is the obvious problem with the application of Utilitarianism in both the real-world example and the thought experiment by Williams?

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