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Ethical Dilemma in a Classic Sci-Fi Story in the Spotlight for WT’s Great Books Series in June – The Amarillo Pioneer

A profound ethical dilemma pitting the life of many against the life of a child will be discussed in the next installment of West Texas A&M University’s Great Books series.

Dr. Patricia Tyrer, WT’s Jenny Lind Porter English teacher, will lead the discussion on “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin at 7 p.m. June 14 via Zoom.

The discussion series – sponsored by the Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages ​​- is open to those who have or have not read the book, said Dr Daniel Bloom, organizer of Great Books and associate professor of philosophy.

Tyrer said the story, originally published in 1954 in Astounding Magazine, caused a stir. In the story, a transport ship transports medicine to an outpost on a nearby planet, and it is equipped with only the precise amount of fuel needed. But the younger sister of one of the planet’s inhabitants has slipped onto the ship, putting everything in jeopardy because the ship will no longer have enough fuel to reach the planet.

“Basically it’s the same philosophical thinking about ‘kill one to save many’ or ‘save one with you to ultimately sacrifice the greatest number,'” Tyrer said. “History is created with good physics and bad engineering – there is no room for error. In most discussions of this piece, it was difficult to get participants to accept the story settings. I expect we’ll have a good discussion about making tough decisions in times of crisis.

WT professors and guest lecturers lead the monthly discussions.

The series began in 2011 and is traditionally held in person on the second Tuesday of the month at Burrowing Owl Books, 7406 SW 34th Ave., Suite 2B, in Amarillo. He switched to Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic; a return to in-person meetings is expected to take place in September.

To sign up for the June discussion, email Tyrer at [email protected].

The series is a means by which WT serves the region by providing engagement with a variety of literary and philosophical texts. Being a learner-centred university is a key principle of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From begging to the world.

This plan is fueled by the historic amount of $125 million one west huge fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which launched publicly on September 23 — has raised around $110 million.

-West Texas A&M University