The Problem of the Conjoined Twins

Chaoslord2004
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The Problem of the Conjoined Twins

I will be the first to admit that ethics is not my main area in Philosophy.  In fact, it is probably my weakest area.  With that said, here is a very interesting problem all ethical theories need to deal with.  Oddly enough, I thought up this example today walking across campus.

 

Imagine a pair of conjoined twins.  Suppose that they cannot be seperated because they share many of the same organs.  Ethically, how would one handle this case.  One of the twins murders someone and is convicted.  However, the other twin had nothing to do with the murder.  Do you send both of them to prison, thus punishing the innocent twin?  Or do you let the innocent one go free, thus letting the guilty one go unpunished?

It seems the problem here is with this:  Something unfair will happen.  However, is it more morally responsible to punish an innocent person, or to let a guilty person go unpunished? Hence, which normitive duty over-rides the other?  The duty to punish guilty people, or the duty to not punish innocent people?

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


Vastet
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Well you'd think that if the

Well you'd think that if the twins were conjoined one twin could stop the other from killing. Not doing so would in effect be participating in the crime(as far as most legal systems are concerned anyways), and therefore should share the sentence.

I suspect that most crime is due to the failure of capitalism coinciding with natural flaws in brain chemistry. Get rid of capitalism and the victimless laws and work on perfecting medical science and you should get rid of 99-100% of crime.

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Strafio
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How about wire an electric

How about wire an electric shock around the bad one's brain that the good one can set off whenever he misbehaves. The good one could be the bad one's permanent supervisor! Eye-wink

As a more serious answer to the question, I'd rather see a guilty person unpunished than an innocent person punished, all other things being even.


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Vastet wrote: Well you'd

Vastet wrote:
Well you'd think that if the twins were conjoined one twin could stop the other from killing. Not doing so would in effect be participating in the crime(as far as most legal systems are concerned anyways), and therefore should share the sentence.

Fine, imagine that the other conjoined twin could not have stopped the other twin.  Suppose the other twin just flipped out on someone and stabbed them before the other twin had enough time to process what the hell was going on.

 

Vastet wrote:
I suspect that most crime is due to the failure of capitalism coinciding with natural flaws in brain chemistry. Get rid of capitalism and the victimless laws and work on perfecting medical science and you should get rid of 99-100% of crime.

I am not sure this is true.

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


Chaoslord2004
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Strafio wrote: As a more

Strafio wrote:
As a more serious answer to the question, I'd rather see a guilty person unpunished than an innocent person punished, all other things being even.

Same here 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


Vastet
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Chaoslord2004

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Well you'd think that if the twins were conjoined one twin could stop the other from killing. Not doing so would in effect be participating in the crime(as far as most legal systems are concerned anyways), and therefore should share the sentence.

Fine, imagine that the other conjoined twin could not have stopped the other twin.  Suppose the other twin just flipped out on someone and stabbed them before the other twin had enough time to process what the hell was going on.

I think that an improbable scenario due to the physics of being conjoined, but in such a situation I would favour a method of controlled contact with others. It wouldn't be too nice for the innocent twin(though all efforts should be made to insure the comfort, health, and safety of both twins), but the safety of others is paramount. The needs of the many outweighs the needs of the one.

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

 

Vastet wrote:
I suspect that most crime is due to the failure of capitalism coinciding with natural flaws in brain chemistry. Get rid of capitalism and the victimless laws and work on perfecting medical science and you should get rid of 99-100% of crime.

I am not sure this is true.

I'm not certain either, but I suspect.

Editted for an error in wording

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.