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# The Trolley Problem

 Posts: 158 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/8/2014 9:28:44 AMPosted: 4 years agoThe Trolley Problem:There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. Unfortunately, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You do not have the ability to operate the lever in a way that would cause the trolley to derail without loss of life (for example, holding the lever in an intermediate position so that the trolley goes between the two sets of tracks, or pulling the lever after the front wheels pass the switch, but before the rear wheels do).You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.Which is the correct choice, and why?Abortion Is Generally Morally Reprehensible: http://www.debate.org... The instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves - Archibald Alison Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven! - William Wordsworth
 Posts: 942 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/8/2014 9:51:05 AMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/8/2014 9:28:44 AM, Fox-McCloud wrote:The Trolley Problem:There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. Unfortunately, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You do not have the ability to operate the lever in a way that would cause the trolley to derail without loss of life (for example, holding the lever in an intermediate position so that the trolley goes between the two sets of tracks, or pulling the lever after the front wheels pass the switch, but before the rear wheels do).You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.Which is the correct choice, and why?1 < 5?
 Posts: 4,325 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/8/2014 9:56:16 AMPosted: 4 years agoWait...Who tied them up? That Guy deserves to be the one that dies, and if it's the 1 guy untied on the other track, he should die.Otherwise, don't mess with fate. Let the 5 Die.Affinity: Fire Class: Human Abilities: ???? Nac. WOAH, COLORED FONT!
 Posts: 158 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/8/2014 10:11:31 AMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/8/2014 9:56:16 AM, TheAntidoter wrote:Wait...Who tied them up? That Guy deserves to be the one that dies, and if it's the 1 guy untied on the other track, he should die.That is irrelevant for the question at hand. You are evading the question.Otherwise, don't mess with fate. Let the 5 Die.By the way, the source is Wikipedia.Abortion Is Generally Morally Reprehensible: http://www.debate.org... The instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves - Archibald Alison Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven! - William Wordsworth
 Posts: 4,325 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/8/2014 10:13:03 AMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/8/2014 10:11:31 AM, Fox-McCloud wrote:At 1/8/2014 9:56:16 AM, TheAntidoter wrote:Wait...Who tied them up? That Guy deserves to be the one that dies, and if it's the 1 guy untied on the other track, he should die.That is irrelevant for the question at hand. You are evading the question.See Below. That is my answer, the above is just an exception. It's also similar to the fat man problem where you can push him in front of the train to kill him.Otherwise, don't mess with fate. Let the 5 Die.By the way, the source is Wikipedia.Ok then. My answer is still k then.Affinity: Fire Class: Human Abilities: ???? Nac. WOAH, COLORED FONT!
 Posts: 3,932 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/8/2014 1:13:51 PMPosted: 4 years agoI've got a better one. An evil man kidnaps you and tells you (convincingly) that there is a bomb planted in an area with lots of people that he will detonate if you don't follow his instructions precisely. You have every reason to believe he is telling the truth.He brings out several small children and infants and tells you to rape, mutilate, and otherwise torture them for hours on end or else he will detonate the bomb, killing hundreds of innocent civilians.What do you do?AKA Rob1billion Rob1_Billion Caramel Lasagna
 Posts: 9,470 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 12:20:44 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/8/2014 1:13:51 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:I've got a better one. An evil man kidnaps you and tells you (convincingly) that there is a bomb planted in an area with lots of people that he will detonate if you don't follow his instructions precisely. You have every reason to believe he is telling the truth.He brings out several small children and infants and tells you to rape, mutilate, and otherwise torture them for hours on end or else he will detonate the bomb, killing hundreds of innocent civilians.What do you do?Nothing. Even if there is a bomb planted, that doesn't mean he would stop his plans to kill all of the kids no matter what he tells you. For all you know, you could rape and mutilate all of these kids and he would still do what he was going to do.
 Posts: 3,932 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 12:35:22 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 12:20:44 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 1/8/2014 1:13:51 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:I've got a better one. An evil man kidnaps you and tells you (convincingly) that there is a bomb planted in an area with lots of people that he will detonate if you don't follow his instructions precisely. You have every reason to believe he is telling the truth.He brings out several small children and infants and tells you to rape, mutilate, and otherwise torture them for hours on end or else he will detonate the bomb, killing hundreds of innocent civilians.What do you do?Nothing. Even if there is a bomb planted, that doesn't mean he would stop his plans to kill all of the kids no matter what he tells you. For all you know, you could rape and mutilate all of these kids and he would still do what he was going to do.Excellent. And so you have solved both my example and the trolley problem as well. The answer is not to participate in them. People across the world are in a "trolley problem" all their lives; they think they are helping certain people by sacrificing the freedom of others, but trying to work the formula so that they do more good than less (or so they tell themselves). This utilitarian attitude always favors them personally along the way, no doubt!AKA Rob1billion Rob1_Billion Caramel Lasagna
 Posts: 942 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 12:40:26 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 12:35:22 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:At 1/9/2014 12:20:44 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 1/8/2014 1:13:51 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:I've got a better one. An evil man kidnaps you and tells you (convincingly) that there is a bomb planted in an area with lots of people that he will detonate if you don't follow his instructions precisely. You have every reason to believe he is telling the truth.He brings out several small children and infants and tells you to rape, mutilate, and otherwise torture them for hours on end or else he will detonate the bomb, killing hundreds of innocent civilians.What do you do?Nothing. Even if there is a bomb planted, that doesn't mean he would stop his plans to kill all of the kids no matter what he tells you. For all you know, you could rape and mutilate all of these kids and he would still do what he was going to do.Excellent. And so you have solved both my example and the trolley problem as well. The answer is not to participate in them. People across the world are in a "trolley problem" all their lives; they think they are helping certain people by sacrificing the freedom of others, but trying to work the formula so that they do more good than less (or so they tell themselves). This utilitarian attitude always favors them personally along the way, no doubt!I don't see a problem with saving more lives. The case you gave is different than the OP's.
 Posts: 3,932 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 12:53:06 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 12:40:26 PM, ben2974 wrote:I don't see a problem with saving more lives. The case you gave is different than the OP's.I apologize: you should take option 1) in the OP. Doing nothing (not participating) is the only sensible option. If you switch the lever, you are committing murder. If you let five people die, you are not. If those five people die their lives are on the head of the person who tied them up, not yours!Pulling the lever violates the principle of "the ends never justify the means." In other words, you are perceiving an intellectual end ("let's save lives") and using those ends to justify murder ("I should kill that person because it will be better for everyone"). That thought process is inherently flawed, and is consistent with teleological/consequentialist ethical beliefs. It is not wise to endow your intellect with the ability to justify hurting others to satisfy your own ends, even if your own ends are for "others."If you would like an excellent lesson on the trolley problem, you should watch my absolute favorite movie of all time: "Storm of the Century." This movie is written by Stephen King and it grabs you from the very first minute and doesn't let go. Two minutes into it you'll be on the edge of your seat and even though it's three hours long it feels like thirty minutes because it's so damned good. At the end they have a version of the trolley problem and they do an excellent job with it - I think you will understand my POV better if you see it.AKA Rob1billion Rob1_Billion Caramel Lasagna
 Posts: 942 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 1:10:09 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 12:53:06 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:At 1/9/2014 12:40:26 PM, ben2974 wrote:I don't see a problem with saving more lives. The case you gave is different than the OP's.I apologize: you should take option 1) in the OP. Doing nothing (not participating) is the only sensible option. If you switch the lever, you are committing murder. If you let five people die, you are not. If those five people die their lives are on the head of the person who tied them up, not yours!Pulling the lever violates the principle of "the ends never justify the means." In other words, you are perceiving an intellectual end ("let's save lives") and using those ends to justify murder ("I should kill that person because it will be better for everyone"). That thought process is inherently flawed, and is consistent with teleological/consequentialist ethical beliefs. It is not wise to endow your intellect with the ability to justify hurting others to satisfy your own ends, even if your own ends are for "others."If you would like an excellent lesson on the trolley problem, you should watch my absolute favorite movie of all time: "Storm of the Century." This movie is written by Stephen King and it grabs you from the very first minute and doesn't let go. Two minutes into it you'll be on the edge of your seat and even though it's three hours long it feels like thirty minutes because it's so damned good. At the end they have a version of the trolley problem and they do an excellent job with it - I think you will understand my POV better if you see it.Is this philosophy suggesting that individuals close their eyes whenever something doesn't directly involve them? (not stepping in for a victim of bullying, for example).
 Posts: 3,932 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 1:12:31 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 1:10:09 PM, ben2974 wrote:At 1/9/2014 12:53:06 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:At 1/9/2014 12:40:26 PM, ben2974 wrote:I don't see a problem with saving more lives. The case you gave is different than the OP's.I apologize: you should take option 1) in the OP. Doing nothing (not participating) is the only sensible option. If you switch the lever, you are committing murder. If you let five people die, you are not. If those five people die their lives are on the head of the person who tied them up, not yours!Pulling the lever violates the principle of "the ends never justify the means." In other words, you are perceiving an intellectual end ("let's save lives") and using those ends to justify murder ("I should kill that person because it will be better for everyone"). That thought process is inherently flawed, and is consistent with teleological/consequentialist ethical beliefs. It is not wise to endow your intellect with the ability to justify hurting others to satisfy your own ends, even if your own ends are for "others."If you would like an excellent lesson on the trolley problem, you should watch my absolute favorite movie of all time: "Storm of the Century." This movie is written by Stephen King and it grabs you from the very first minute and doesn't let go. Two minutes into it you'll be on the edge of your seat and even though it's three hours long it feels like thirty minutes because it's so damned good. At the end they have a version of the trolley problem and they do an excellent job with it - I think you will understand my POV better if you see it.Is this philosophy suggesting that individuals close their eyes whenever something doesn't directly involve them? (not stepping in for a victim of bullying, for example).No, it doesn't. It simply means that you don't hurt others and try to justify it intellectually (which is always going to coincidentally favor yourself, in practice. Could you elaborate on your bullying example? How does it weaken my argument?AKA Rob1billion Rob1_Billion Caramel Lasagna
 Posts: 14,201 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 1:13:59 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 12:53:06 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:At 1/9/2014 12:40:26 PM, ben2974 wrote:I don't see a problem with saving more lives. The case you gave is different than the OP's.I apologize: you should take option 1) in the OP. Doing nothing (not participating) is the only sensible option. If you switch the lever, you are committing murder. If you let five people die, you are not. If those five people die their lives are on the head of the person who tied them up, not yours!Pulling the lever violates the principle of "the ends never justify the means." In other words, you are perceiving an intellectual end ("let's save lives") and using those ends to justify murder ("I should kill that person because it will be better for everyone"). That thought process is inherently flawed, and is consistent with teleological/consequentialist ethical beliefs. It is not wise to endow your intellect with the ability to justify hurting others to satisfy your own ends, even if your own ends are for "others."If you would like an excellent lesson on the trolley problem, you should watch my absolute favorite movie of all time: "Storm of the Century." This movie is written by Stephen King and it grabs you from the very first minute and doesn't let go. Two minutes into it you'll be on the edge of your seat and even though it's three hours long it feels like thirty minutes because it's so damned good. At the end they have a version of the trolley problem and they do an excellent job with it - I think you will understand my POV better if you see it.Evil by inaction is still evil. If you had the opportunity to save someone and didn't, you are complicit in the murder. Utilitarianism makes more sense in this case from an objective viewpoint - 5 > 1.White Privilege: http://www.debate.org... ASBW 1: http://www.debate.org... ASBW II: http://www.debate.org... ASBW III: http://www.debate.org... ASBW IV: http://www.debate.org... ASBW V: http://www.debate.org... ASBW VI: http://www.debate.org... <3 Annie
 Posts: 942 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 1:21:43 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 1:12:31 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:At 1/9/2014 1:10:09 PM, ben2974 wrote:At 1/9/2014 12:53:06 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:At 1/9/2014 12:40:26 PM, ben2974 wrote:I don't see a problem with saving more lives. The case you gave is different than the OP's.I apologize: you should take option 1) in the OP. Doing nothing (not participating) is the only sensible option. If you switch the lever, you are committing murder. If you let five people die, you are not. If those five people die their lives are on the head of the person who tied them up, not yours!Pulling the lever violates the principle of "the ends never justify the means." In other words, you are perceiving an intellectual end ("let's save lives") and using those ends to justify murder ("I should kill that person because it will be better for everyone"). That thought process is inherently flawed, and is consistent with teleological/consequentialist ethical beliefs. It is not wise to endow your intellect with the ability to justify hurting others to satisfy your own ends, even if your own ends are for "others."If you would like an excellent lesson on the trolley problem, you should watch my absolute favorite movie of all time: "Storm of the Century." This movie is written by Stephen King and it grabs you from the very first minute and doesn't let go. Two minutes into it you'll be on the edge of your seat and even though it's three hours long it feels like thirty minutes because it's so damned good. At the end they have a version of the trolley problem and they do an excellent job with it - I think you will understand my POV better if you see it.Is this philosophy suggesting that individuals close their eyes whenever something doesn't directly involve them? (not stepping in for a victim of bullying, for example).No, it doesn't. It simply means that you don't hurt others and try to justify it intellectually (which is always going to coincidentally favor yourself, in practice. Could you elaborate on your bullying example? How does it weaken my argument?I totally get your explanation for choice one. But i'm trying to figure its dimensions (how far it can be applied, to what it can be applied).To ask you another question, does this mean that in the trolley situation, would me trying to stop the trolley itself from continuing in its path (either path) violate the philosophy you suggested? Would it make me responsible for ALL 6 of them if I failed?The bullying example is the same idea (kind of). IF you were the only person that was able to witness a bullying (the bully was physically and/or mentally harassing the victim), and you had the power to step in, would stepping in violate the philosophy you suggested? I'm guessing not because it isn't certain whether a person's life is in question...
 Posts: 9,470 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 1:26:03 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/8/2014 9:28:44 AM, Fox-McCloud wrote:The Trolley Problem:There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. Unfortunately, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You do not have the ability to operate the lever in a way that would cause the trolley to derail without loss of life (for example, holding the lever in an intermediate position so that the trolley goes between the two sets of tracks, or pulling the lever after the front wheels pass the switch, but before the rear wheels do).You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.Which is the correct choice, and why?No brainer. You save the 5 people, as it is more people. Isn't this extremely easy? It is not a hard dilemma at all...
 Posts: 158 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 4:56:13 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 1:26:03 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 1/8/2014 9:28:44 AM, Fox-McCloud wrote:The Trolley Problem:There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. Unfortunately, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You do not have the ability to operate the lever in a way that would cause the trolley to derail without loss of life (for example, holding the lever in an intermediate position so that the trolley goes between the two sets of tracks, or pulling the lever after the front wheels pass the switch, but before the rear wheels do).You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.Which is the correct choice, and why?No brainer. You save the 5 people, as it is more people. Isn't this extremely easy? It is not a hard dilemma at all...Is it really that simple? Can we quantify the value of ones life, so that 5 people become more valuable than 1? Consider you were the 1 person, would you then still say it is the correct choice to kill you over the other 5? Further, how do you justify your decision to put murder lower on the moral hierarchy than inaction (which indirectly causes the death of 5 people).There are also another problem with this specific line of reasoning, which the follow dilemma shows us: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.What would you do in this situation?Abortion Is Generally Morally Reprehensible: http://www.debate.org... The instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves - Archibald Alison Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven! - William Wordsworth
 Posts: 9,470 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 5:03:23 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 4:56:13 PM, Fox-McCloud wrote:At 1/9/2014 1:26:03 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 1/8/2014 9:28:44 AM, Fox-McCloud wrote:The Trolley Problem:There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. Unfortunately, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You do not have the ability to operate the lever in a way that would cause the trolley to derail without loss of life (for example, holding the lever in an intermediate position so that the trolley goes between the two sets of tracks, or pulling the lever after the front wheels pass the switch, but before the rear wheels do).You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.Which is the correct choice, and why?No brainer. You save the 5 people, as it is more people. Isn't this extremely easy? It is not a hard dilemma at all...Is it really that simple?Yes.Can we quantify the value of ones life, so that 5 people become more valuable than 1?With no other background knowledge, and pressure to chose quickly; yes.Consider you were the 1 person, would you then still say it is the correct choice to kill you over the other 5?I wouldn't like it, no. However, consider the 5 people. Would all 5 of them like it if they got killed? I can run the same argument but in reverse. The only difference is, well, my argument is 5 times stronger.Further, how do you justify your decision to put murder lower on the moral hierarchy than inaction (which indirectly causes the death of 5 people).Inaction is murder in a sense. If you can save someone and you don't, that is a choice you made that cause a person to die. A choice you make that causes a person to is essentially murder. Either way, you are causing someone to die. Why not save 4 more people? It is really a no brainer.There are also another problem with this specific line of reasoning, which the follow dilemma shows us: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.What would you do in this situation?Well, I admit, this is harder. I would say to let the man live, and the 5 die. This is because, pulling a lever to cause a train to change directions is one thing, but I don't know if I could go through killing someone with a gun or a knife just for their bodies parts. That seems much more gruesome.
 Posts: 9,470 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 5:06:18 PMPosted: 4 years agoBasically, I could pull a lever to save 5 lives and not feel guilty about it. This is because someone has to die by the same method. To kill the guy, I would have to slaughter and butcher him, but that is not the same way the patients would die (natural causes). So, I think there is a relevant difference here between the train scenario, and the doctor one.
 Posts: 942 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 1/9/2014 5:17:46 PMPosted: 4 years agoAt 1/9/2014 4:56:13 PM, Fox-McCloud wrote:At 1/9/2014 1:26:03 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 1/8/2014 9:28:44 AM, Fox-McCloud wrote:The Trolley Problem:There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. Unfortunately, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You do not have the ability to operate the lever in a way that would cause the trolley to derail without loss of life (for example, holding the lever in an intermediate position so that the trolley goes between the two sets of tracks, or pulling the lever after the front wheels pass the switch, but before the rear wheels do).You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.Which is the correct choice, and why?No brainer. You save the 5 people, as it is more people. Isn't this extremely easy? It is not a hard dilemma at all...Is it really that simple? Can we quantify the value of ones life, so that 5 people become more valuable than 1? Consider you were the 1 person, would you then still say it is the correct choice to kill you over the other 5? Further, how do you justify your decision to put murder lower on the moral hierarchy than inaction (which indirectly causes the death of 5 people).There are also another problem with this specific line of reasoning, which the follow dilemma shows us: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.What would you do in this situation?I do not think the position the doctor is in is the same as the person at the railroad.