The Trolley Problem

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Comments

22 comments posted so far. Expand all comments Login to add a comment.

Picture of Nebo12 achievements

+13

2. Nebo 3 years ago

How about pull the lever after the first set of wheels pass over so the back wheels turn and possibly flip the train leaving 5 people alive. :)

Picture of Slap_chop_ninja36 achievements

+11

3. Slap_chop_ninja 3 years ago

I would Sparta kick fatty with a quickness because the video tells me it's morally acceptable.

Picture of cretia27 achievements

+46

4. cretia 3 years ago

the next time i see a fatty hanging out on a bridge i will do it just incase there is a runaway train

Picture of OMGkungfu26 achievements

+5

5. OMGkungfu 3 years ago

a true hero would jump down himself... lucky im no hero tough O:)

Picture of Roxy18 achievements

+5

6. Roxy 3 years ago

Most people would say no to the second because it's unrealistic and will still draw in aspects of the realistic situation. People will always give gray answers to unrealistic hypothetical scenarios because of that clash. In this case, people wouldn't push the fat man of the bridge for fear the fat man could not stop the train leading to 5 deaths and one caused entirely by that person.

Picture of Trooper25 achievements

+19

7. Trooper 3 years ago

first scenario, DO NOTHING: WHy?
Ok, let's say you pull the lever and get the single guy killed, saving the 4 other guys. Then what? What if the secondary track where the single guy is ends up looping around? Then the trolley comes back to kill the 4 men and you ended up killing 5...

Second scenario:
There is no way you can justify pushing the fat guy on the tracks, Whatever if you have saved 4 guys, you are still guilty of first degree murder! Like #5 said: Be a hero and throw yourself on the track.

Fact is that this story is flawed. It requires you (inside the story) to have prior knowledge of how pulling the lever could help you save the 4 guys. It also requires you to have prior knowledge that there is a single guy standing on the secondary track.

Finally, this story deprives you from other courses of action such as screaming at the guys to get their attention or blowing up the trolley with an RPG (ok, that one I inserted for fun).

That's what is absurd with those hypothetical questions that are supposed to expose the inner working of our value system. By presenting only 2 options which are equally horrible, they remove the possibility for a true moral decision.

Picture of Natan_el_Tigre43 achievements

+4

8. Natan_el_Tigre 3 years ago

Pfft! The outcomes could not possibly be the same because these are different moral dilemmas: Having willingly taken their jobs, the track workers have accepted potential danger. So, in the first scenario, the decision to flip the switch to save the greater number is rather straightforward. But in the second scenario, you’d be pushing an innocent bystander into harms way. And it’s not his fault that either the track workers’ foreman isn’t doing his or her job or their employer failed to assign one to the job -- the decision to save the track workers is his to make, not yours.

For those of you interested in moral dilemma depictions that don’t fail, you might try here for starters:

http://listverse.com/2007/10/21/top-10-moral-dilemmas/

Picture of archis48 achievements

+1

9. archis 3 years ago

The second scenario is so unrealistic, that it does not fit in my mind, they should make realistic scenario. In any case I am for decion where saved lifes > sacrificed lives. Humanism can be a great obstical to make a rational decision and I like how this video makes a point about that.

Picture of cored31 achievements

+2

10. cored 3 years ago

If you can pass the unrealistic scenario you can see that point of this dillema is in the indirect way (by pulling the lever) and direct way (pushing someone to its death)

#7 "By presenting only 2 options which are equally horrible, they remove the possibility for a true moral decision."

If you had the choice that everybody happily can go home alive than it would not be moral dillema.

Picture of Fergus_Thedog36 achievements

+1

11. Fergus_Thedog 3 years ago

#10 - I guess that all depends upon your morals.

Picture of banzemanga42 achievements

+2

12. banzemanga 3 years ago

#8 In a way you are right, but even in the first case scenario; the single worker is also innocent. By pulling the leveler, an innocent person will still die.

What really is behind the morals is the direct or indirect method of killing. Some people think that as long as you call a hitman to kill someone you are not the murderer compared to shooting someone on the head yourself.

Picture of schlafanzyk31 achievements

+1

13. schlafanzyk 3 years ago

Moral dilemmas always lose my interest when I hear the line "if all you really care about is.."
People can't just only care about one issue isolated from everything else, we always look at the entire picture, personal consequences and we have emotions.

If the position of the leaver is in fact random and the single worker does not believe he is completely safe from traffic because of its position, then every single worker on any track is completely equal and the first example is the right choice. If not, I would not do it in the first example either.
As soon as one of the persons involved has a different status of exposure, everything changes, so in the second one it is obviously the wrong choice to push the afraid bystanding man. So, it is not really a dilemma if you look at the big picture. It becomes obvious when you replace the fat guy example with pulling the same leaver to an unfinished track that ends in front of a house with an innocent person living in it. Would you do it there? No, because the workers accept a certain risk at their workplace and have to look out for themselves for some degree, while the person living in the house would essentially be manslaughtered as a result of your action. 4 lives would saved in the process, but that does not make it right.

Also, for all of that to be even relevant, you would have to know the absolute worth of each one of the persons, because what if the fat guy was a child molester and so on and so forth. It's just a pointless messing around with our mind. Good judgement can never be reduced to a perfect decision based on complete knowledge, that nobody has anyway.

Picture of Tarquin2214 achievements

+2

14. Tarquin22 3 years ago

I would just fall back on Darwinism and do nothing and see which workers aren't dumb enough to stand on the track while they could just move out of the damn way, instead of just screaming with their arms raised in some pathetic defensive posture. I know the moral dilemma is valid, but the video just shows a bunch of idiots with bad survival instincts.

Picture of ZaMpTi47 achievements

+2

15. ZaMpTi 3 years ago

#2 yes and kill everyone inside the train :x

Picture of bzzt28 achievements

+5

16. bzzt 3 years ago

It's the same with modern warfare. If you told the pilot of a bomber to kill 100 infants and their mothers using a knife one by one he surely wouldn't do it. However he happily lets a bomb drop to a inhabited civilian area, doing the same.

Picture of schlafanzyk31 achievements

+2

17. schlafanzyk 3 years ago

#14 That's actually a better point than you might have realized or intended it to be.
In one way or another, every person is responsible for their position in life, we have to be, how ever unfortunate it may be. We base our whole society and judicial system on that, so the act of interfering in either one of the examples has to be morally wrong, as long as harm to a previously uninvolved person is the imminent result of your action. It sucks, but it has to be that way.

Picture of fjwjr42 achievements

+1

18. fjwjr 3 years ago

How about just saying, "Hey, get out of the way."?

Picture of BenderBRodriguez22 achievements

+1

19. BenderBRodriguez 3 years ago

If it were me i'd push the fatty. Consider how many lives more you'd save by allowing starving people to eat the food fatty would eat :)

Picture of serfer626 achievements

-1

20. serfer62 3 years ago

Standing on the bridge I just down "Hey, get off the track!"

Picture of makbeth36 achievements

+1

21. makbeth 3 years ago

Fatty would have to be equal in mass to the train to even slow it to half speed, much more to make it stop. Also, many other things(so many the video does not merit the time it would take to completely discredit every aspect). So this situation was basically devised by idiots.

To be honest i dont think I would pull the switch either. I would make any attempt i could to warn them/stop the train but not by turning the people into numbers and doing the maths. If the four died, I did my best and my conscience is clear. Blame goes to the morons working on the active line, or the super silent invisible train company for doing their jobs too well.

The rules/conditions of the conundrum are too far removed from the realms of possibility and reality to ever return a valid answer.

Picture of max200035 achievements

+1

22. max2000 3 years ago

the two-men rule, as employees they've been instructed and both aware of those risks, if a team, more chances one should forsee and stand overwatch: so nothin', survivability is much higher with the team. 8-)