The most wanted gang in all of the land has come to raid your village. Your only hope of survival is for you and all of the townspeople to duck into a secret hideout and wait until the gang has left. You sit there silently, quietly, with anxious anticipation while the gang stomps on the floors above you.
All the while you are holding your baby boy. You know the baby will cough soon and give away everyone's location. You have two choices:
1) Smother your baby (thus killing it) in order to keep the bandits from finding your location and killing both you and everyone in the village.
2) Let the baby live and get you, your baby, and the village killed by the bandits.
What is the rational answer to this moral dilemma?
The Value Of A Life
Utilitarianism: The idea that the morally righteous decision should be what benefits the sum of happiness of the group.
From a utilitarian standpoint, the parent should kill the baby in order to save the town as it will preserve much greater happiness among the entire village vs. the sadness experienced by the baby and the parent.
Moral Absolutism: The idea that all actions are intrinsically right or wrong, no matter the circumstances. For example: Killing is always wrong.
From a standpoint of moral absolutism, it would be wrong to sacrifice the baby for the village, since you are still committing a murder.