Wednesday, January 03, 2018

On "The Good Doctor". Shaun's behavior when in a group confronted by armed robbery poses a moral dilemma

I missed the episode “Apple”, of “The Good Doctor”, aired Nov. 20 (episode 8), but it brings up a serious moral dilemma, a kind of Trolley Problem.
On the way to work, Shaun steps into a convenience store to buy fresh apples, and the store is held up by an armed robbery. The robber demands that Shaun keep his hands up and turn over his wallet at the same time.

Shaun refuses because these are logically inconsistent demands. Shaun shows no emotion even when the robber taunts him.  The robber becomes unnerved by Shaun’s lack of apparent fear and goes off the rails, and shoots a woman in the store.  The owner hits the robber over the head with a baseball bat, and soon police apprehend the robber.  Shaun’s behavior may have indirectly contributed to the woman’s been shot, but also led to the robber’s apprehension.

Later, Shaun participates in saving the woman’s life in surgery with his own savant skills.

There is a side episode about a drug addict that doesn’t seem connected to the story.

The girl’s boy friend, who was in the store, “blames” Shaun for the girl’s wounds.  But Shaun refuses to accept responsibility for what someone else chooses to do. Later the boy friend apologizes and admits he wanted to leave her.

Shaun would make a reliable witness at a trial of the robber, because his testimony would be clear, objective and unemotional
It is important to note that Shaun did not confront the robber out of ideological motive, like never giving in to a “terrorist”.  For example, I have written on other blogs that if I were singled out in an incident for kidnapping, I would not comply, even if it meant my death and everyone else in the room, because I see this as a necessary sacrifice (or line not to cross) in order not to negotiate over my own life with terrorists or criminals. But I would take no moral responsibility, only the criminal or terrorist would.  Of course, this goes down the revolutionary “Marxist” line that the members of the bourgeoisie have it coming to them.  I used to hear this in revolutionary circles (like the People’s Party) in the early 1970s.  It fits in to the Patty Hearst, Getty, and Manson cases, and is a point that Pam Geller makes in her recent book “Fatwa”.

Note that "savant" skills used to be called "idiot savant".  No longer.  

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