The Trolley Problem

Oct 2010
66,893
26,975
Colorado
#11
So you would sacrifice the one life to save the five. See my example to KnightOfShappho. Would you push the man off the bridge?

"A train is going down the track towards five people. You're standing on a bridge next to a morbidly obese man. You have the opportunity to push him over the bridge, killing him, stopping the train, and saving the lives of the five people. Would you do it?"
That's a little bit different scenario. I'd like to think I'd still opt for saving five people rather than letting them die through my inaction, but I'm not sure and I'm not sure why I'm not sure.
 
Dec 2018
1,834
1,170
Wisconsin
#12
That's a little bit different scenario.
You are 100% correct and that's the point of the philosophical question. And I hope it doesn't come across as I'm badgering or criticizing you because I agree with you. I too would pull the lever and save the five lives. I too would NOT push the man off the bridge, resulting in the loss of five lives. But why is it different. At the end of the day, I'm making an active decision to kill one person in an attempt to save five lives. The difference is in one scenario I'm physically putting my hands on the individual who will die. I think that would cause great psychological problems for me. So while I'm saving five lives in one scenario, I'm doing so in a way that causes the least amount of harm to myself.

Put it to you another way (and again, this is how the Trolley Problem is generally approached). Let's say your a doctor. In one wing of the hospital you have five individuals who need a different organ transplant. In another wing of the hospital you have a grieving family visiting their relative on life support. Would you tell the grieving family that if they take their loved one off life support, five people can be saved? Just like pulling a lever and just like pushing a fat guy over the bridge, these actions would save five lives at the cost of one life.
 
Likes: right to left
Apr 2013
37,086
25,298
La La Land North
#13
This, unfortunately is something that must be done regularly by some people. Although supposedly the ranking of persons on the list to get a transplant is logically arrived at based on a variety of documented characteristics, many of them are themselves somewhat arbitrary. Where this hit me is that for about 8 months Mrs. RNG was on a panel that chose who would get some new cancer treatment which was very limited. So there is a guy who is a respected businessman, philanthropist, church deacon and pillar of the community. But he's 63 and has had a serious heart attack. Then there is Joe Average, otherwise healthy but has an average job and other than that mostly watches TV, with his 3 young kids. Then there's the young rebel, did time, part time doper but an amazingly talented artist. Only one can get it.

After 8 months it became to much for her and she quit. And I don't blame her. BTW, the above is a real case, there were a couple more candidates but I forget the details about them.

Now in the naked case in the OP, assuming I didn't know anything about the 6 persons involved I would pull the switch. This case is different.
 
Oct 2010
66,893
26,975
Colorado
#14
You are 100% correct and that's the point of the philosophical question. And I hope it doesn't come across as I'm badgering or criticizing you because I agree with you. I too would pull the lever and save the five lives. I too would NOT push the man off the bridge, resulting in the loss of five lives. But why is it different. At the end of the day, I'm making an active decision to kill one person in an attempt to save five lives. The difference is in one scenario I'm physically putting my hands on the individual who will die. I think that would cause great psychological problems for me. So while I'm saving five lives in one scenario, I'm doing so in a way that causes the least amount of harm to myself.

Put it to you another way (and again, this is how the Trolley Problem is generally approached). Let's say your a doctor. In one wing of the hospital you have five individuals who need a different organ transplant. In another wing of the hospital you have a grieving family visiting their relative on life support. Would you tell the grieving family that if they take their loved one off life support, five people can be saved? Just like pulling a lever and just like pushing a fat guy over the bridge, these actions would save five lives at the cost of one life.
There might be another option.

I could jump off the bridge, and give my life to prevent the death of six people.
 
Likes: hoosier88
Oct 2010
66,893
26,975
Colorado
#15
This, unfortunately is something that must be done regularly by some people. Although supposedly the ranking of persons on the list to get a transplant is logically arrived at based on a variety of documented characteristics, many of them are themselves somewhat arbitrary. Where this hit me is that for about 8 months Mrs. RNG was on a panel that chose who would get some new cancer treatment which was very limited. So there is a guy who is a respected businessman, philanthropist, church deacon and pillar of the community. But he's 63 and has had a serious heart attack. Then there is Joe Average, otherwise healthy but has an average job and other than that mostly watches TV, with his 3 young kids. Then there's the young rebel, did time, part time doper but an amazingly talented artist. Only one can get it.

After 8 months it became to much for her and she quit. And I don't blame her. BTW, the above is a real case, there were a couple more candidates but I forget the details about them.

Now in the naked case in the OP, assuming I didn't know anything about the 6 persons involved I would pull the switch. This case is different.
Wow.........

Making those decisions seems too much to put on people.

How about a lottery?
 
Dec 2018
1,834
1,170
Wisconsin
#16
There might be another option.

I could jump off the bridge, and give my life to prevent the death of six people.
You're not a fan of multiple choice are you my friend? When someone says your options are A or B, you say fuck off I'll find my own option.

Not a criticism, as it's an admirable quality for critical thinking. Bit of a pain in the ass, but critical thinker nonetheless :)
 
Dec 2015
15,879
14,778
Arizona
#17
I remember discussing the Trolley Problem in my college years and wanted to get the groups input. The fact that early versions of this came out of the University of Wisconsin has nothing to do with it ;)

For those unaware, the base of the philosophical problem is very basic.

You see a trolley (train) coming down the tracks and there are five people tied to the rails. They are certain to be killed. You are standing next to a lever that will divert the trolley to a side track, saving the five people. However, one person is tied to the side track. What is the more ethical option?
1. You allow nature to take it's course and five people will die. You had nothing to do with it.
2. If you pull the lever, you have a direct hand in killing one person.

Like with most philosophical problems, the devil is in the details:
- What if the five people are convicted felons and the one person is a police officer?
- What if the five people are senior citizens and the one person is a ten year old girl?
- What if the five people are morbidly obese and the one person is a heart surgeon?
- If your answer changes, why?
- Is the value of life dependent on life choices, age, health, occupation, etc.?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand go

What if the five people were Trumps and the one person was Hillary? LMAO
 
Oct 2010
66,893
26,975
Colorado
#19
You're not a fan of multiple choice are you my friend? When someone says your options are A or B, you say fuck off I'll find my own option.

Not a criticism, as it's an admirable quality for critical thinking. Bit of a pain in the ass, but critical thinker nonetheless :)
Yes, Iike Trump taking credit for the shutdown, I'll take credit for being a pain in the ass.... ;)

The more I thought about this, the more sure I became: this is what I'd do. I've put my life on the line for others a few times. Fortunately, I'm still here, obviously......