A criminal has taken five of your neighbors as hostages

A criminal has taken five of your neighbors as hostages and has threatened to kill them unless five of his compatriots serving time for murder are released from prison. He has already shot one of the hostages in the leg. If the five compatriots are let free, authorities estimate that they will return to their home country of Mongolia, spend time with their families, and then begin murdering others next year. Statistically speaking, they are likely to kill a total of between ten and thirty people in Mongolia.
a. Should the authorities release these prisoners?
b. Applying the Issue-Contingent Model, what elements of moral intensity are especially important to you in formulating your opinion?
c. What factors should a utilitarian take into account in evaluating this trade? What conclusion would a utilitarian likely reach?


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