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# The Trolley Problem

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1. On your morning walk, you see a trolley car hurtling down the track, the conductor slumped over the controls. In the path of the trolley are five men working on the track, oblivious to the danger. You are standing at a fork in the track and can pull a lever that will divert the trolley onto a spur, saving the five men. Unfortunately, the trolley would then run over a single worker who is laboring on the spur. Is it permissible to throw the switch, killing one man to save five?

Consider a different scene. You are on a bridge overlooking the tracks and have spotted the runaway trolley bearing down on the five workers. Now the only way to stop the trolley is to throw a heavy object in its path. And the only heavy object within reach is a fat man standing next to you. Should you throw the man off the bridge?
2. permissible yes, would I do it no. Probably get me jail time.
3. I would pull the lever half way so the train derails
4. (Original post by Alextaylor6)
I would pull the lever half way so the train derails
But then you will be murdering a man...
5. if the five are Leavers and the other guy is a Remain i know what i would do...
6. (Original post by Shen_T)
On your morning walk, you see a trolley car hurtling down the track, the conductor slumped over the controls. In the path of the trolley are five men working on the track, oblivious to the danger. You are standing at a fork in the track and can pull a lever that will divert the trolley onto a spur, saving the five men. Unfortunately, the trolley would then run over a single worker who is laboring on the spur. Is it permissible to throw the switch, killing one man to save five?

Consider a different scene. You are on a bridge overlooking the tracks and have spotted the runaway trolley bearing down on the five workers. Now the only way to stop the trolley is to throw a heavy object in its path. And the only heavy object within reach is a fat man standing next to you. Should you throw the man off the bridge?
yes and yes. 1 life < 5 lives
7. (Original post by the bear)
if the five are Leavers and the other guy is a Remain i know what i would do...
Derail the train #Trexit
8. (Original post by Student403)
Derail the train #Trexit
9. I would throw the switch and push the Fat Man. In both cases, a net four lives are saved, and there is no morally significant difference between the two cases.

In fact, whilst a minority of people support pushing the Fat Man, the majority of people would be fine with pulling a lever which opens a trap door through which the Fat Man falls. The majority of people would also push the Fat Man if it stopped the trolley from crashing into some explosives which, when detonated, would kill thousands of people.

The aversion to pushing the Fat Man in the first case is because of the small number of net people who will be saved, and an emotional aversion to physically pushing someone off a bridge.
10. (Original post by AperfectBalance)
permissible yes, would I do it no. Probably get me jail time.
What would you do then? Let 5 men die?
11. (Original post by Shen_T)
But then you will be murdering a man...
How? This would not necessarily kill the conductor
12. (Original post by Shen_T)
On your morning walk, you see a trolley car hurtling down the track, the conductor slumped over the controls. In the path of the trolley are five men working on the track, oblivious to the danger. You are standing at a fork in the track and can pull a lever that will divert the trolley onto a spur, saving the five men. Unfortunately, the trolley would then run over a single worker who is laboring on the spur. Is it permissible to throw the switch, killing one man to save five?

Consider a different scene. You are on a bridge overlooking the tracks and have spotted the runaway trolley bearing down on the five workers. Now the only way to stop the trolley is to throw a heavy object in its path. And the only heavy object within reach is a fat man standing next to you. Should you throw the man off the bridge?
I would let the trolley kill the 5 men in both situations. Means overall lower public benefits/taxes I have to pay for if there are less people.

I am not even kidding.
13. Let the scenario run its course in both situations. Call the police/ ambulance service and get them over asap. This way, I am not culpable for murder or manslaughter.
14. (Original post by JPO92)
Let the scenario run its course in both situations. Call the police/ ambulance service and get them over asap. This way, I am not culpable for murder or manslaughter.
This. In reality, best course of action is to do nothing.
15. If you were to use Kantian philosophy to answer this, it would only be permissible to kill the one to save the five if the one had a learning disability. And that, dear children, is why Utilitarian thinking is better. Emmanuel Kant was a great man, shame his views on what constitutes a rational agent is less so.
16. (Original post by LewisSleeps)
If you were to use Kantian philosophy to answer this, it would only be permissible to kill the one to save the five if the one had a learning disability. And that, dear children, is why Utilitarian thinking is better. Emmanuel Kant was a great man, shame his views on what constitutes a rational agent is less so.
Surely utilitarian thinking is the greatest pleasure for the greatest number. This is an infinitely difficult measure. Who's to say that the usefulness of the 5 is more or less than the 1, dependent on their value to society. Likewise, saying that a person with a learning disability is a weaker value of utility in society really depends on the individual. Some people with 'learning difficulties' have contributed hugely to society, case in point: Temple Grandin, an autistic professor of animal science who engineered the blueprints for the popular and more humane method of cattle slaughter now widely used in America.
17. In a real life situation, I wouldn't take any action apart from informing the authorities. Utilitarianism does teach that 1 life sacrificed for the sake of 5 is good, but:

- I don't want to be tried for murder

- I do not know anything about these people, the classic argument would go that the single person you sacrifice could be a scientist who could go on to develop a cure for cancer and the other five people insignificant with their contributions to society in comparison. Utilitarianism cannot possibly be applied perfectly to all situations, especially not one like this, as we cannot simulate all possible outcomes.

- Actively killing someone as a sacrifice and allowing five people to die while you're in a passive position are no the same thing.

Doubtless, more people would pull the lever than push the fat man. Throwing another human being onto a track would be much more difficult to do than pulling a level to achieve a similar effect. We also don't know whether or not you can successfully throw the man onto the tracks without placing yourself in danger, and you cannot be certain that the man will stop the trolley. Finally, even labeling him a "fat man" is an issue in itself as "fat" carries certain connotations that, say, "large" may not do.
18. The problem with the trolley problem is that it's a thought experiment, meaning there is no actual objective reality to it. It's just a vague arena for throwing philosophies in and seeing how they fare. But ultimately they all end up being wrong through some argument eventually, because there is enough vagueness in the problem to discredit them all by adding whatever hypotheticals you want.
19. (Original post by M451)

Doubtless, more people would pull the lever than push the fat man. Throwing another human being onto a track would be much more difficult to do than pulling a level to achieve a similar effect.
I love it how people miss the point.

(Original post by Pemble)
The problem with the trolley problem is that it's a thought experiment, meaning there is no actual objective reality to it.
There is. Theoretical problems describe factual existence. The maths for example. A small mistake in calculation, may cause extreme mistake in results, especially in complicated example. This applies to whole recogintion of world. A tiny, most insignificant mistake in cosmology, may result in complete nonsense of whole description.

The trolley problem is much closer to reality though. let's say that your name is Raginis, you are a commander in september 1939. You are holding a strategic point at Wizna. You have 360 men, and your enemy has thousands of soldiers. If you give up, you will save your men, but more other soldiers will die because of your decision and it is more likely, that your country will lose the war. If you insist to fight, your men will die, but you will give a chance to your country to defend itself. Which decision is better?
Presume that your name is general Kutrzeba and you are thinking about a massive counterstrike, same september 39. If it fails, your army will find itself in a trap, being attacked from all sides, lots of your soldiers will die. But if you succed, you stand a chance to win a war, avoid occupation, and stop crimes that you know, are already happening. What will you do?
20. (Original post by PTMalewski)
I love it how people miss the point.
Sorry, what have I missed?

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