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Should you push someone under a train?

F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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9/9/2011 3:30:00 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?

The only "simple" answer, at least for me is that I won't cause an innocent person to die. I won't make decisions like 5 lives are better than 1 or any such thing.
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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9/9/2011 3:30:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
No. If I really wanted to be a hero, I would sacrifice myself and stand in the way, not impose sacrifice on another through sheer murder.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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9/9/2011 3:35:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

No. I still would not commit murder. A bank robbery furthermore does not deserve death.

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?

No. Why would gender render one life more valuable than another? I fear for whoever says yes to this question.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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9/9/2011 3:47:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?
Yes.
2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?
Yes.
3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?
It would probably encourage me more.
5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?
No.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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9/9/2011 3:52:06 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:47:47 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?
Yes.
2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?
Yes.
3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?
It would probably encourage me more.
5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?
No.

would you throw someone you know and enjoy the company of on the tracks?

would you throw yourself on the tracks if noone else was there?

would you try to throw ME on the tracks.. who would surely overpower you and throw you on the tracks instead :o)
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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9/9/2011 3:54:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:44:30 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
000ike, for the sake of argument, what if he murdered someone?

I still would not do it. Who am I to take someone's life? What gives me the right to rob someone of his existence? We do not always murder murderers for the simple reason that an eye for an eye renders us all without sight. I do not wish to multiply death. I am not the judge whether an individual who has done evil deserves to live or die. To assume such power would be wrong, evil, and deserving of punishment.

To reiterate, a coward would look for someone else to sacrifice. A hero would sacrifice himself.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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9/9/2011 4:07:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?
No. The man accepted the risk that the train company would send a train down at that time, but may have reviewed the train schedule, and certainly did not accept the risk of me altering the train's course as the train is not my property. Thus, he may be wholly innocent of taking any of the risks which have come up problematic, whereas the 5 people on the train accepted the risks of riding the train, including the risk that the driver would be negligient in discovering whether there was a cliff.

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?
Even more no, as the man is now not accepting any risks related to being on the tracks.

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?
Yes, he now has no rights and thus leads to the same ethical result as though he were a rock-- a particularly distasteful rock at that.


5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?
Definitely not.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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9/9/2011 4:33:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?:

I've heard this utilitarian argument before. I think Harvard's philosophy department showcases it every year in their auditorium.

Anyway, I think all people should be pushed under trains for entertainment purposes. It's funny in the movies, so it should therefore be amusing in real life too. :)

(To the people who take sh*t way too seriously, my comment is a demonstration of what is known as "satire.")

Thank you, that is all.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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9/9/2011 5:38:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

No, as a libertarian, I'm against aggression in all it's forms.

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

Refer to my first answer.

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

Nope.

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

No. Even if one believes in retributive justice, being killed is not in any way proportional to theft.

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?

Nope.
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
seraine
Posts: 734
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9/9/2011 6:12:16 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:30:51 PM, 000ike wrote:
No. If I really wanted to be a hero, I would sacrifice myself and stand in the way, not impose sacrifice on another through sheer murder.

He missed a part of the trolley problem- the only person with enough mass to stop it is a fat man.
seraine
Posts: 734
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9/9/2011 6:14:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?

Non-Aggression Principle

Enough said.
seraine
Posts: 734
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9/9/2011 6:16:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

Also, change this to: The man derailed the train so that it's hurdling towards the cliff.

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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9/9/2011 6:22:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 6:14:19 PM, nonentity wrote:
I notice jumping on to the track yourself is not an option lol

It is not because the issue is a moral one, not a practical one. Most likely, one man can't stop a train if this was tested in reality.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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9/9/2011 6:23:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 6:12:16 PM, seraine wrote:
At 9/9/2011 3:30:51 PM, 000ike wrote:
No. If I really wanted to be a hero, I would sacrifice myself and stand in the way, not impose sacrifice on another through sheer murder.

He missed a part of the trolley problem- the only person with enough mass to stop it is a fat man.

I still wouldn't do it. I couldn't, it wouldn't feel right. Only he can make that decision to sacrifice himself, and if this fat guy was a murderer, I still wouldn't push him because it is not in my position to randomly punish criminals by my own accord when the opportunity arises. If he deserves death, that must be decided in a fair court only. I can't make that decision independently and rob a human being of his life for the blind ideal of heroism. If the train crashes and the 5 people die, it is a tragedy, but it was not a tragedy created by intentional evil. If the 5 people live, but the fat guy dies because of me, then it is still murder.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
nonentity
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9/9/2011 7:03:34 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 6:22:04 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 9/9/2011 6:14:19 PM, nonentity wrote:
I notice jumping on to the track yourself is not an option lol

It is not because the issue is a moral one, not a practical one. Most likely, one man can't stop a train if this was tested in reality.

What?

My point was that there was an option to push someone else onto the track, but no option to sacrifice yourself :p
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,222
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9/9/2011 7:09:00 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Sending the train to roll over someone walking on the tracks may be beneficial from an evolutionary viewpoint. There will be fewer train-track-walking genes in the DNA pool.
Plato_ATODT
Posts: 21
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9/9/2011 7:10:42 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:30:00 PM, Indophile wrote:
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?

The only "simple" answer, at least for me is that I won't cause an innocent person to die. I won't make decisions like 5 lives are better than 1 or any such thing.

Choosing to make no decision is making a decision.
The Philosopher King will rule when the time is right.
Plato_ATODT
Posts: 21
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9/9/2011 7:12:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?

Assuming no other info is obtainable in a timely manner, yes.


2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?

Likewise, yes.


3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?

That would only make the decision easier.


5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?

No, sex has no influence on the value of a human life, though other attributes do.
The Philosopher King will rule when the time is right.
Plato_ATODT
Posts: 21
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9/9/2011 7:13:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 7:09:00 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
Sending the train to roll over someone walking on the tracks may be beneficial from an evolutionary viewpoint. There will be fewer train-track-walking genes in the DNA pool.

I'd be willing to bet that there is no "train-track-walking" gene.
The Philosopher King will rule when the time is right.
BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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9/9/2011 8:46:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 6:22:04 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 9/9/2011 6:14:19 PM, nonentity wrote:
I notice jumping on to the track yourself is not an option lol

It is not because the issue is a moral one, not a practical one.

Practicality is just a way to determine morality.
quarterexchange
Posts: 1,549
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9/9/2011 8:50:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
For me it depends on the amount of people. For a handful, I probably won't.

1. Who knows whether or not that the person you push or get killed isn't worth more than the 5 people on the train.

2. It's not up to me to make that decision for someone else, if they want to lose their life for a handful of people.

However, if we were talking about several tens of people, I probably would.
I don't discriminate....I hate everybody.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,222
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9/9/2011 8:51:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 7:13:52 PM, Plato_ATODT wrote:
At 9/9/2011 7:09:00 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
Sending the train to roll over someone walking on the tracks may be beneficial from an evolutionary viewpoint. There will be fewer train-track-walking genes in the DNA pool.

I'd be willing to bet that there is no "train-track-walking" gene.

Willing to bet your life?
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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9/10/2011 6:39:28 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Here is the original scenario from wikipedia where I based mine off of. Now that I think of it, the original is far more interesting:

A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?
MarquisX
Posts: 925
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9/10/2011 9:39:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/9/2011 3:27:37 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Consider this scenario: (I am only looking to discuss moral/ethical aspects, NOT practical ones as to whether they are possible)

A train with 5 people on board is hurtling down a track at a high speed. The track diverges and can go two ways. In both ways, the track ahead falls off a cliff. Track 1 is empty. On track 2, there is a man standing on the track. If the train collides with the man, the man will die, the train will stop and the 5 people will live. The only way to stop the train is if a person stands in front of it. You have the switch.

1) If the train by default would have gone on track 1, would you flip the switch to save the lives of the 5 people on board at the expense of the man's life?
Nope.

2) If you had no switch, but the man was standing next to you, would you push the man onto the tracks to save the 5 lives?
That's just a dick move. Nope.

3) Are your answers to questions 1 and 2 different? If so, why?

4) Would your answers for 1 and 2 be any different if you knew the man was a felon who was involved in a bank robbery? Why?
Depends on whether I know where the money is.

5) Would your answers to 1 and 2 be different if it was a women on the tracks/standing next to you?
Nope
Sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive