John Harris's Argument For The Survival Lottery

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An argument for the “Survival Lottery”

Allocation of scare medical resources posses quite the biomedical ethical issue. John Harris in his paper, “The Survival Lottery”, presents the scenario of two people needing surgery while there being a shortage of organs. The controversial solution that is proposed is if one healthy person were to be killed, their organs could be used to save two people. Harris argues that by implementing a lottery system those dying at a young age will have a better chance at living longer. The way the lottery system works is people will be given a number and if their number is chosen, they are killed to save those who are dying. In this paper, I agree with Harris and intend to argue that implementing the lottery system is beneficial to the over all community. Harris’s argument can be reconstructed as: (1) If multiple people can be saved by the killing of one person, then the lottery system should be implemented; (2) More people would be saved by the lottery system and live longer; (3) Therefore, the lottery system should be put into place to decrease the amount of early deaths to increase the living age. Harris then argues how implementing would be beneficial to the entire society. Harris’s argument is valid, but it is not sound. One might be uncertain of premise one. Harris supports premise
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Those who die a younger ages would have a better chance of living and be able to contribute for many more years to come. The number of people who are saved would outweigh the number of people who are killed because the lottery would only be used when two or more lives could be saved in exchange for one. The lottery system would only be put into place when there are no available donors. So people are not necessarily being killed all the time. In the long run, the lottery system would be beneficial to the society as a