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Grapple with these CWRU ethical dilemmas

Steve Kerby

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” quipped Socrates right before he was sentenced to die for corrupting the youth. Here at CWRU, we’ve got it all in spades; unexamined lives, plenty of things that aren’t worth living for, being sentenced to debt and corrupted youth. Try these CWRU ethical questions out, and see what it’s like to actually reflect on your choices.

  1. You are about to take a very difficult Organic Chemistry exam, and if you don’t pass you will be forced to drop your BME-PreMed plans and be a failure in the eyes of your parents. Some of your friends have captured the SI for the course and want you to torture the solutions out of him. Do you torture the SI to pass the test or risk it all on your own feeble intelligence?
  2. You are an administrator in charge of university finance. An evil villain has tied five students down to tracks, all of whom are receiving full-ride scholarships. You can pull a lever and switch the trolley off those tracks, but then it will run over a single student who is paying full price. Do you pull the lever, keeping in mind that Babs is counting on you to keep CWRU profitable?
  3. A student is wedged in the tiny passageway through Strosacker, and hundreds of people are going to be late for the Modern Physics final if they don’t get through immediately. Fortunately, you have a stick of dynamite and can blow the student up to get everyone else through in a timely fashion. Clearly this will kill the stuck student. Do you blow them up?
  4. Your Biology professor has discovered that some of his students are cheating on his tests. He is threatening to dock 10 percent off the entire class’s final grades unless the leader of the cheating ring turns themself in immediately. You are the leader of the ring; do you turn yourself in?
  5. You and some friends are trying to sneak a tub of ice cream out of Leutner in a giant wooden horse. While you are hiding in the horse, one of your friends starts to cough very loudly, possibly giving away your location. Do you strangle him to stop his obnoxious noise-making?

Need some help? Here are some tips for each situation.

  1. Do you take a finger or an ear?
  2. How much is five full rides, again?
  3. Wouldn’t the dynamite kill a bunch of other people, too?
  4. Can your GPA take the 10 percent hit? It can? Cool.
  5. Blood doesn’t stain wood, right?

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