Diest TKO wrote:
I'm not convinced that morals such a polarity that the metaphor of a compass is well suited.
A field medic in a war may only have enough time and resources to save one wounded soldier. I have a hard time thinking that there is a correct soldier to save. I do however think a field medic standing around saving neither while he philosophizes which soldier is more deserving/harder off/more likely to give back to society/etc is more of a moral pet rock than a compass.
I am not sure that the polarity you refer to is there in the metaphor.
A compass may POINT North, but the importance of that is simply that you can determine all the directions from that....a compass is not about its polarity except that one may use that polarity to determine a multitude of directions.
I think the metaphor is "what TOOL (ultimate guiding principle) do you use to determine what direction you will move in a moral dilemma.
Generally, in the extreme triage situation you refer to, the guiding principles are something like "Whom am I most likely to be able to save medically speaking...ie you would choose the soldier most likely to benefit from medical intervention if only one could be retrieved, I suppose.
In "normal" triage the choices are more like "who needs help the most urgently first of those who have a chance of survival" and then move onto the next most critical with survivable injuries and so on down the chain.
If the two soldiers in your example have an equal chance of survival, THEN one has a more complex moral dilemma and may get into higher order thinking, but I doubt that happens in practice all that often. Of course, I could be wrong.