3

At the beginning of I Am Mother we see a "school" lesson between Mother and Daughter (the following synopsis is from my recollections and is definitely not a direct quote).

Mother

Mother proposes a hypothetical situation where 5 people are critical ill and require organ transplants to survive. A 6th person who is critically injured but otherwise healthy shows up. Mother proposes that Daughter could allow the person to die and use their organs to save the other 5 people, asking if such an act would be the correct moral choice. She then further asks what would be the correct moral choice if Daughter herself were the sixth person.

Daughter

Daughter is not immediately sold on the idea, stating that the answer might depend on what kind of people the five others are. In particular, if they are generally "immoral" while she herself is a life saving doctor, it wouldn't make any sense.

Mother

Mother argues with this reasoning, asking something like "Don't you believe that all people have intrinsic value?"

Question?

Initially I took Mother's response to be a statement of her viewpoint: that all people have intrinsic value and deserve a shot at life, and therefore Daughter is not being "altruistic" enough. However by the end of the movie we discover

that Mother was singlehandedly responsible for destroying the human race for not being "good" enough.

Therefore it seems possible that Daughter gave the "correct" answer and Mother argued the point simply to play devil's advocate. Indeed, by the end of the film Mother seems to be very happy with the person Daughter has become, suggesting she may have been happy with Daughter's answer here.

Is there anyway to know if Daughter's answer represents agreement with Mother's views and success upon the part of Mother and her tutelage, or does this represent a place where Mother and Daughter disagree, even if the former approves of the latter in the end?

  • 3
    When this question is asked in actual philosophy classes, there isn't a right or wrong answer, per se. The main point is to present situations that are morally complicated so that the students are confronted with how they think philosophically. Ideally, the teacher would not reveal if they think one answer is right or wrong. Basically, the question is not meant to be answered, really. It's meant to be pondered. This question is usually used as a further study of the Trolley Problem. – Todd Wilcox Jun 20 at 0:16
  • @ToddWilcox Indeed, but I suspect that Mother thinks that there is only one right answer. – conman Jun 20 at 0:22
  • 2
    @ToddWilcox that looks like a good answer – Luciano Jun 20 at 8:59
  • Daughter seems to suggest that if the other people were destructive in nature, then it would be optimum that the one good person survives to ensure that humanity progresses in a sustainable direction. This is pretty much what Mother is upto. Destroy the old world humans because they are self-destructive and allow for the race of more "ethical" or "good" humans to prevail. – MovieMe Jul 5 at 11:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .