The trolley problem

On the surface, the consequences of both actions are the same: Unger also considers cases which are more complex than the original trolley problem, involving more than just two results. Suppose further that if the young man were to disappear, no one would suspect the doctor.

If this is the case, then deciding to do nothing would be considered an immoral act if one values five lives more than one. At first, both may seem to be justified, but most people, when asked which of the two actions is permissible -- pulling the lever or pushing the man onto the tracks -- say that the former is permissible, the latter is forbidden [source: In popular culture[ edit ] In an urban legend that has existed since at least the mids, the decision must be made by a drawbridge keeper who must choose between sacrificing a passenger train or his own four-year-old son.

Trolley problem

The track goes through a bit of a valley at that point, and the sides are steep, so you must stop the trolley if you are to avoid running the five men down. Far from solving the dilemma, the trolley problem launched a wave of further investigation into the philosophical quandary it raises.

Take the two examples that make up the trolley problem. Criticism[ edit ] In a paper published in the Social and Personality Psychology Compass, [44] researchers criticized the use of the trolley problem, arguing, among other things, that the scenario it presents is too extreme and unconnected to real-life moral situations to be useful or educational.

As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people and you can divert it onto a secondary track. According to classical utilitarianism, such a decision would be not only permissible, but, morally speaking, the better option the other option being no action at all.

Do you support the morality of the doctor to kill that tourist and provide his healthy organs to those five dying persons and save their lives? You can divert its path by colliding another trolley into it, but if you do, both will be derailed and go down a hill, and into a yard where a man is sleeping in a hammock.

The rejoining variant may not be fatal to the "using a person as a means" argument. Related problems[ edit ] Five variants of the trolley problem: But as the trolley gets closer, you hear the sounds of panic -- the five people on board are shouting for help. This has been suggested by Michael J.

Both of these grave dilemmas constitute the trolley problem, a moral paradox first posed by Philippa Foot in her paper, "Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect," and later expanded by Judith Jarvis Thomson.

The initial trolley problem also supports comparison to other, related, dilemmas: This approach requires that we downplay The trolley problem moral difference between doing and allowing.

Should you flip the switch? A healthy young traveler, just passing through the city the doctor works in, comes in for a routine checkup. The man in the yard[ edit ] Unger argues extensively against traditional non-utilitarian responses to trolley problems.

If a decision is not made within a certain period of time, the king announces that the player has five seconds to make up their mind, "or they all die.

Trolley Driver "Suppose you are the driver of a trolley. Below you will find one of the Trolley Dilemma scenarios as stated by Thomson, followed by a multiple choice question. Unger therefore argues that different responses to these sorts of problems are based more on psychology than ethics — in this new case, he says, the only important difference is that the man in the yard does not seem particularly "involved".

To make the parallel as close as possible it may rather be supposed that he is the driver of a runaway tram which he can only steer from one narrow track on to another; five men are working on one track and one man on the other; anyone on the track he enters is bound to be killed.

In this instance, pushing the villain to his death, especially to save five innocent people, seems not only morally justifiable but perhaps even imperative. In the course of doing the checkup, the doctor discovers that his organs are compatible with all five of his dying patients.

Other approaches make use of virtual reality to assess human behavior in experimental settings. Since then, numerous other studies have employed trolley problems to study moral judgment, investigating topics like the role and influence of stress, [15] emotional state, [16] impression management, [17] levels of anonymity, [18] different types of brain damage, [19] physiological arousal, [20] different neurotransmitters, [21] and genetic factors [22] on responses to trolley dilemmas.

But, the person on the secondary track is a fat person who, when he is killed by the trolley, will stop it from continuing on to the five people.The "Trolley Dilemma" (or the "Trolley Problem") consists of a series of hypothetical scenarios developed by British philosopher Philippa Foot in Each scenario presents an extreme environment that tests the subject's ethical prowess.

I ask because the trolley-problem thought experiment described above—and its standard culminating question, Would it be morally permissible for you to. The trolley problem is a question of human morality, and an example of a philosophical view called consequentialism. This view says that morality is defined by the consequences of an action, and that the consequences are all that matter.

The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge?: A Philosophical Conundrum [Thomas Cathcart] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A trolley is careering out of control.

Up ahead are five workers; on a spur to the right stands a lone individual.

How the Trolley Problem Works

You/5(53). Nov 24,  · You are walking near a trolley-car track when you notice five people tied to it in a row. The next instant, you see a trolley hurtling toward them, out of control.

A signal lever is within your.

The trolley problem
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