Variations on the Trolley Problem

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On the subject, this is my favorite joke of all time, and probably the best trolley problem ever:

http://www.mindspring.com/~mfpatton/Tissues.htm

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Both Kant and Bentham were gone before trolleys were a thing. So we’re dealing with zombies, ghosts or even worse --philosophy LARPers. I pull the lever and hit Bentham. Ghost or not, you sir, do not get to change your mind. Then I beat Kant senseless with Bentham’s tome and leave him draped over the trolley lever.

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I’m going to wait for my Ethics prof to tell me which decision is correct.

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There’s an out of control trolley speeding towards your ethics professor. You have the ability to pull a lever and change the trolley’s path so it hits a different worker. The other worker is also your ethics professor, 10 minutes into the future…

Or something…

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Has she posted our grades yet? That’ll help me decide.

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The best thought experiments should be problematic; if they weren’t, there’d be no point in thinking about them.

BBC Radio 4 recently repeated their programme on this in the Philosophers’ Arms series, entitled, appropriately enough,Trolleyology. (I understand that folk unfortunate enough to live outside the UK can still listen to this on the web at that link, because it’s radio and not TV. Shrug.) That should give some food for thought.

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Well the first part of the problem seems simple to me.

Pull the lever - hitting one person is not as bad as hitting 4 people. No other considerations needed. Now add “the 4 people hit will live but if you pull the lever the one person will die” and the problem becomes more interesting - but just as easy - killing someone is worse than 4 injuries. Honestly I’m unsure what the point of the added ‘will make you less late’ adds to the equation as outside considerations shouldn’t factor into a decision that affects peoples physical selves.

The second question is easy - walk away because no one cares if a trolly hits an ethics professor.

:smile:

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My wife the urban planner rejected all the answers and says we need to go back in time and invest more in transit infrastructure (especially braking systems).

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Do nothing. Let God’s will be done.

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Is the trolley going to hit me? Is it my fault it’s out of control?

Meh. Not my problem.

I’m still working on this dilemma, but think I may have a solution involving 100 duck sized horses.

I’ll get back to you . . .

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this sounds a lot like the 2016 presidential election

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Has anybody thought to ask the trolley what IT wants?

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Can we ring the bell?

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God put us on Earth for a purpose. And that purpose is to do nothing!

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Any physicist would know the correct answer can be determined easily, you must 1st assume a spherical ethics professor

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Only one guy i can think of.

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FTFY (but flagging prohibited)

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Kill both men, steal their work, become immortal

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