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Simon Tam

    Brilliant young doctor who graduated at the top 3% of his class. He was looking at a very promising career in medicine, that was until rescued his sister from an alliance facility. After that his sister and him joined the crew of Serenity. 

Rescuing River

    River Tam, Simon’s little sister, was put into a special government program for gifted children. This program was actually setup to find children with psychic abilities for a weapons program that set out to create super soldiers. This program used behavioral conditioning, lobotomies,  and other treatments that can damage a participants psyche. When Simon rescued River, he injured some the people who worked at the facility, and had give up his career and become an outlaw both harms. On the other hand this act stopped the torment that River had been enduring, and Simon got the piece of mind that his sister was safe. Since the workers at the facility were not permanently injured in the rescue the amount of happiness decreased by that part of that act is minimized. Simon could never be happy knowing his sister was living under such conditions, and River could never be happy while in the program overall happiness was increased by this act. Therefore rescuing river was the morally right thing to do.

Leaving Serenity

    After Mal, the ship’s captain, takes River on a mission to steal payroll from a security firm Simon decides to leave Serenity with River. The reason for this decision is that while on the mission Reavers attacked the town the mission was taking place in and nearly caught the group that was on the mission. Fearing for his sister’s safety on such missions he decides to leave to protect his sister. Leaving the ship increases the risk that they would be caught by the alliance, and prevented Kaylee from being in a relationship with Simon both of these reduce happiness. Not being on Serenity means that RIver will not be involved in the potentially dangerous activities performed by its crew, which in theory increases happiness. Since the increased chance of being caught by the alliance means that total happiness is decreased. This means that Simon made the wrong decision. River does add an interesting point in the movie, stating that it is not safe for the crew of Serenity to have them onboard. Taking the fact that River leaving Serenity could protect the crew from harm if they are caught the total happiness gets closed but because staying gives the highest chance that no one will be hurt it is the right thing to do.

Withholding the ‘safeword’

    After leaving Serenity Simon and River went to a bar. On one of the tv screens there a subliminal message triggers a conditioned response, that response being to try and kill everyone in the room. To subdue River before she can do to much damage to herself Simon speaks a special phrase to make River go to sleep. Simon never told anyone about the existence of the phrase, not to mention telling them what it is. In doing this Simon used the crew of Serenity as a means to an end. This is unethical because according to the Kantian system people should be ends not means.