What do you think of the Trolley Problem?

Started by the-pi-guy, Feb 20, 2019, 04:39 AM

previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

the-pi-guy

From Wiki:



The Trolley Problem is an ethical dilemma, where:
-if you pull the lever, 1 person dies.  
-if you don't, 5 people die.

Pulling the lever sacrifices one life to save 5.  

There are other variants.

One of which involves a very large man, who if you push in front of the train will stop it.  Thus sacrificing one life to save 5.

Legend

I would not push the man.

I do not know if I would pull the lever.


It is not right in my opinion for me to judge the value of a life. The variant with the man is easy because it's his call not mine. Plus it is directly murder and the end does not justify the means.

The lever example is hard because it exists in a weird middle state between two different answers. If for some reason I was forced to decide between both groups and niether group was pre-selected by something else, I would save the group of 5/the "better" group. However if the universe decided for me and killed the group of five, I wouldn't think "if only there was a way that I could have forced someone else to die in their place."

The trolley problem for me boils down to deciding where the boundry is between doing good and playing god.

the-pi-guy

I would not push the man.

I do not know if I would pull the lever.
Apparently most people would pull the lever. And most people would not push the man.

The professor brought up this problem in our ethics course.  And its interesting that small differences to a scenario can make them feel different.  

Quote
It is not right in my opinion for me to judge the value of a life. The variant with the man is easy because it's his call not mine. Plus it is directly murder and the end does not justify the means.

The lever example is hard because it exists in a weird middle state between two different answers. If for some reason I was forced to decide between both groups and niether group was pre-selected by something else, I would save the group of 5/the "better" group. However if the universe decided for me and killed the group of five, I wouldn't think "if only there was a way that I could have forced someone else to die in their place."
One thing that our professor said is that a big difference between the two scenarios is that hurting someone in the first case is a side effect, whereas the second case it's directly part of the plan.  

If the man on the second track were to get out of the way, that would be something to celebrate.  You saved everyone's life.  

If the large man gets out of the way, that ruins the plan.  

The latter scenario feels malevolent to most people, whereas pulling the lever doesn't.  

Xevross

Multi-track drifting is the true answer to this problem.

kitler53

assuming all 6 people are strangers so that you have no known reason to be biased in favor of anyone,.. pulling the level is the obvious moral thing to do.    the entire medical industry is an extension of this choice.  intubating a patient may kill them but not intubating a patient will allow them to die.  doing nothing is just as much a choice as doing something,.. not pulling the level just means you have 5 counts of murder instead of 1.


the push a man variant is just stupid.  obviously whoever thought of that has never seen a death scene where a person has been hit by a train.  i've seen it in chicago where people get hit by the metra pretty regularly.  if you push the man 6 people die instead of 5.  it's a simple matter of momentum (mass x velocity).   even the smallest trolley will weight 3-4 tons and a massive man would be 500 pounds making it a 12x multiplier.   hell, if the man of really weighed 500 lbs it would take me longer to push the man in front of the trolley then to push the regular sized people out of the way...
       

the-pi-guy

the push a man variant is just stupid.  obviously whoever thought of that has never seen a death scene where a person has been hit by a train.  i've seen it in chicago where people get hit by the metra pretty regularly.  if you push the man 6 people die instead of 5.  it's a simple matter of momentum (mass x velocity).   even the smallest trolley will weight 3-4 tons and a massive man would be 500 pounds making it a 12x multiplier.   hell, if the man of really weighed 500 lbs it would take me longer to push the man in front of the trolley then to push the regular sized people out of the way...
Of course it doesn't really work.  
If there was like a 400 ton man, you wouldn't be able to move him.  

There's a variation where there's a lever that drops the fat man.