Good question. I saw something once where a woman in Europe someplace got a $140,000 +/- speeding ticket because traffic tickets there are indexed to the violator's means. The theory is if you're rich a $100 fine is no deterrent but if you're not rich it is a deterrent. This lady was wealthy.
If the question is fairness, both boys losing all toys is probably the most fair. Or punish them with something that one does not live with an advantage like special chores, bland meals (tofu, rice, plain oatmeal, etc. and room temperature water,) time out, spankings.
Having opinions all over the map is a good sign of a person capable of autonomous thinking. Felix -2011
TANSTAAFL
“An armed society is a polite society.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Beyond This Horizon
None of the options is "more equal" than the others. The 2 value options are in equal in value but unequal in % just as the 2 % options are equal in % but unequal in value.
There is no real world application to a vague hypothetical. You might as well ask if killing 1 space alien if more ethical that killing 1 million space aliens, the answer doesnt matter because the scenario has no value. It doesnt matter what the answer I choose it because I can use the vagueness to fix the variables so that any answer I choose seems like the only fair answer.I disagree. I understand people's need to have more realistic details, but that should be entirely unnecessary with abstract thinking. I'm an engineer and these are variables to me. The punishment is X. I don't need to know what X - because if X is the same on both sides of the equation, it simply cancels. For those that need a little more realism, I tell them both boys decided to play with their toys instead of doing homework. But that's all you get. You need to be able to imagine two completely equal boys in all ways accept for the number of toys. Is it realistic to imagine that you personally know two perfectly equal boys. Of course not, but that is not the focus - and the reality is that this abstract thinking parallels the aggregate very well. You might not be able to find two perfectly equal boys. But you could take two large groups of boys and do the exact same thing.
Time is just as arbitrary. The difference is that both kids have roughly the same amount of time. They do not have the same amount of toys.
This is simple mathematics to me. If we were to make a formula that measures deprivation, it would be deprived amount over the total available amount. With that you get two sets of equations:
Td / T1 = Td/ T2
this is toys deprived over toys available for both boys 1 and 2. These will never be equal since T1 does not equal T2
on the other hand you have
Hd / Ht = Hd / Ht
These equations are equal - it's the hours deprived over the total hours - both of these are the same. The key isn't that the punishment is arbitrary or not. Pointing out that it's arbitrary just points out the other side of the argument (establishing the punishment). The key is the units for the total amount must be equal between people in order for the punishment to me equal. You could pick an arbitrary punishment that you want - as long as it is based on something that both people have equally, the punishment will be (more) equal.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman