The real culprit being unknown, the judge sees himself as able to prevent the bloodshed only by framing some innocent person and having him executed. Beside this example is placed another in which a pilot whose airplane is about to crash is deciding whether to steer from a more to a less inhabited area. 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. 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.
|Published (Last):||26 November 2017|
|PDF File Size:||14.91 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||7.10 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
The real culprit being unknown, the judge sees himself as able to prevent the bloodshed only by framing some innocent person and having him executed. Beside this example is placed another in which a pilot whose airplane is about to crash is deciding whether to steer from a more to a less inhabited area. 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.
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.
An opponent of action may also point to the incommensurability of human lives. Under some interpretations of moral obligation , simply being present in this situation and being able to influence its outcome constitutes an obligation to participate. If this is the case, then deciding to do nothing would be considered an immoral act if one values five lives more than one.
Related problems[ edit ] Five variants of the trolley problem: the original Switch, the Fat Man, the Fat Villain, the Loop and the Man in the Yard The trolley problem is a specific ethical thought experiment among several that highlights the difference between deontological and consequentialist ethical systems. The initial trolley problem also supports comparison to other, related, dilemmas: The fat man[ edit ] As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people.
You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by putting something very heavy in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you — your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Should you proceed? Resistance to this course of action seems strong; when asked, a majority of people will approve of pulling the switch to save a net of four lives, but will disapprove of pushing the fat man to save a net of four lives.
One clear distinction is that in the first case, one does not intend harm towards anyone — harming the one is just a side effect of switching the trolley away from the five. However, in the second case, harming the one is an integral part of the plan to save the five. This is an argument which Shelly Kagan considers and ultimately rejects in his first book The Limits of Morality.
This solution is essentially an application of the doctrine of double effect , which says that one may take action which has bad side effects, but deliberately intending harm even for good causes is wrong. Another distinction is that the first case is similar to a pilot in an airplane that has lost power and is about to crash into a heavily populated area. Even if the pilot knows for sure that innocent people will die if he redirects the plane to a less populated area—people who are "uninvolved"—he will actively turn the plane without hesitation.
In this instance, pushing the villain to his death, especially to save five innocent people, seems not only morally justifiable but perhaps even imperative. This is essentially related to another thought experiment, known as ticking time bomb scenario , which forces one to choose between two morally questionable acts. The loop variant[ edit ] The claim that it is wrong to use the death of one to save five runs into a problem with variants like this: As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people and you can divert it onto a secondary track.
However, in this variant the secondary track later rejoins the main track, so diverting the trolley still leaves it on a track which leads to the five people.
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. Should you flip the switch? The only physical difference here is the addition of an extra piece of track.
This seems trivial since the trolley will never travel down it. The rejoining variant may not be fatal to the "using a person as a means" argument. This has been suggested by Michael J. Costa in his article "Another Trip on the Trolley", where he points out that if we fail to act in this scenario we will effectively be allowing the five to become a means to save the one. Transplant[ edit ] Here is an alternative case, due to Judith Jarvis Thomson ,  containing similar numbers and results, but without a trolley: A brilliant transplant surgeon has five patients, each in need of a different organ, each of whom will die without that organ.
Unfortunately, there are no organs available to perform any of these five transplant operations. A healthy young traveler, just passing through the city the doctor works in, comes in for a routine checkup. In the course of doing the checkup, the doctor discovers that his organs are compatible with all five of his dying patients.
Suppose further that if the young man were to disappear, no one would suspect the doctor. Do you support the morality of the doctor to kill that tourist and provide his healthy organs to those five dying people and save their lives? The man in the yard[ edit ] Unger argues extensively against traditional non-utilitarian responses to trolley problems.
This is one of his examples: As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. 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.
He would be killed. 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". Unger claims that people therefore believe the man is not "fair game", but says that this lack of involvement in the scenario cannot make a moral difference.
Unger also considers cases which are more complex than the original trolley problem, involving more than just two results. On these grounds, they advocate for the dual-process account of moral decision-making. Since then, numerous other studies have employed trolley problems to study moral judgment, investigating topics like the role and influence of stress,  emotional state,  impression management,  levels of anonymity,  different types of brain damage,  physiological arousal,  different neurotransmitters,  and genetic factors  on responses to trolley dilemmas.
Although the trolley problem has been widely used as a measure of utilitarianism, its usefulness for such purposes has been widely criticized. Most of the participants did not pull the lever. To avoid the runaway train from entering the Union Pacific yards in Los Angeles, where it would not only cause damage, but a Metrolink passenger train was thought to be located, dispatchers ordered the shunting of the runaway cars to track 4, through an area with lower density housing of mostly lower income residents.
The switch to track 4 was rated for 15mph transits, and dispatch knew the cars were moving significantly faster, thus likely causing a derailment.
A pregnant woman asleep in one of the houses was injured but managed to escape through a window and was uninjured by the lumber and steel train wheels that fell around her. Analysis of the data collected through Moral Machine showed broad differences in relative preferences among different countries. It would need to be top-down plan in order to fit the current approaches of addressing emergencies in artificial intelligence.
In popular culture[ edit ] In an urban legend that has existed since at least the mids, the decision is described as having been made in real life by a drawbridge keeper who was forced to choose between sacrificing a passenger train and his own four-year-old son. 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. In , a Facebook page under the name "Trolley Problem Memes" was recognized for its popularity on Facebook.
If Grimes chooses the former, Michonne would face certain torture and death. The latter would mean death to many, if not all, of The Survivors in the prison. An attempt to consider the trolley problem begins Season 3, Episode 15, "The Game", of the science fiction television series Stargate Atlantis. Rodney David Hewlett poses a situation of ten people on one track and one person a baby! The plays out a scenario in which one indecisive girl must choose to kill either a family of five on one track or a complete stranger on the other.
Also in , Explosm. The game was launched on crowd funding platform Kickstarter. Robinson of Current Affairs go even further and assert that the thought experiment is not only useless but downright detrimental to human psychology. The authors are opining that to make cold calculations about hypothetical situations in which every alternative will result in one or more gruesome deaths is to encourage a type of thinking that is devoid of human empathy and assumes a mandate to decide who lives or dies.
They also question the premise of the scenario. She argues that the popular argument that the trolley problem can serve as a template for algorithmic morality is based on fundamentally flawed premises that serve the most powerful with potentially dire consequences on the future of cities.
In , in his book On Human Nature, Roger Scruton criticises the usage of ethical dilemmas such as the trolley problem and their usage by philosophers such as Derek Parfit and Peter Singer as ways of illustrating their ethical views.
Scruton writes, "These "dilemmas" have the useful character of eliminating from the situation just about every morally relevant relationship and reducing the problem to one of arithmetic alone. As a way of showing the flaws in consequentialist responses to ethical problems, Scruton points out paradoxical elements of belief in utilitarianism and similar beliefs.
As such, the authors argued that the trolley problem provides only a partial measure of utilitarianism.
Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. This article has been tagged since August The further development of this example involves the case, where the fat man is, in fact, the villain who put these five people in peril. In this instance, pushing the villain to his death, especially to save five innocent people, seems not just moral, but, to some [attribution needed] , also just and even an imperative.
The Trolley Problem, by Judith Jarvis Thomson
Tojagal A utilitarian view asserts that it is obligatory to steer to the track with one man on it. Again, the consequences are the same as the first dilemma, but thhomson people would utterly reject the notion of killing the healthy patient. Basil Blackwell, originally appeared in the Oxford ReviewNumber 5, She argued that moral theories that judge the permissibility of an action based on its consequences alone, such as consequentialism or utilitarianismcannot explain why some actions that cause jarviis are permissible while others are not. Trolley problem As juidth disaster looms, you glance down and see a lever connected to the tracks. The general form of the problem is this:. Self-Sacrifice and the Trolley Problem. The interesting thing is that, while most people would throw the lever, very few would approve of pushing the fat man off the footbridge.