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Is it morally Just?

Seagull
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3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

If you have ever formally studied ethics, you have likely heard of the so called "Trolley Problem." This problem illustrates an example as implied by the question.

"There is a runaway trolley barreling 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. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?" (1)

I am curious to here peoples thoughts. What do you think?

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org...
Geogeer
Posts: 4,274
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3/30/2016 4:00:31 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

If you have ever formally studied ethics, you have likely heard of the so called "Trolley Problem." This problem illustrates an example as implied by the question.

"There is a runaway trolley barreling 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. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?" (1)

I am curious to here peoples thoughts. What do you think?

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org...

https://en.wikipedia.org...
Seagull
Posts: 88
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3/30/2016 4:07:10 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 4:00:31 PM, Geogeer wrote:

https://en.wikipedia.org...

Perhaps you could apply the ethical framework to the question rather than just posting the link.
Geogeer
Posts: 4,274
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3/30/2016 4:50:17 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 4:07:10 PM, Seagull wrote:
At 3/30/2016 4:00:31 PM, Geogeer wrote:

https://en.wikipedia.org...

Perhaps you could apply the ethical framework to the question rather than just posting the link.

The nature-of-the-act condition. The action must be either morally good or indifferent.

Either acting or not acting can be seen as a preservation of life which is a morally good action.

The means-end condition. The bad effect must not be the means by which one achieves the good effect.

In neither condition the saving of people is not directly caused by the death of the other(s).

The right-intention condition. The intention must be the achieving of only the good effect, with the bad effect being only an unintended side effect.

You are not saving one/some for the purpose of killing the other(s).

The proportionality condition. The bad effect must not be disproportionate to the good effect.

In both cases you are saving life. Now is saving one life at the expense of 5 justifiable? Considering that it involves non-action it might be justifiable.

So in the trolley problem, either doing or not doing is morally acceptable.
Seagull
Posts: 88
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3/30/2016 5:06:05 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 4:50:17 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 3/30/2016 4:07:10 PM, Seagull wrote:
At 3/30/2016 4:00:31 PM, Geogeer wrote:

https://en.wikipedia.org...

Perhaps you could apply the ethical framework to the question rather than just posting the link.

The nature-of-the-act condition. The action must be either morally good or indifferent.

Either acting or not acting can be seen as a preservation of life which is a morally good action.

The means-end condition. The bad effect must not be the means by which one achieves the good effect.

In neither condition the saving of people is not directly caused by the death of the other(s).

The right-intention condition. The intention must be the achieving of only the good effect, with the bad effect being only an unintended side effect.

You are not saving one/some for the purpose of killing the other(s).

The proportionality condition. The bad effect must not be disproportionate to the good effect.

In both cases you are saving life. Now is saving one life at the expense of 5 justifiable? Considering that it involves non-action it might be justifiable.

So in the trolley problem, either doing or not doing is morally acceptable.

Interesting. This draws an important distinction between a great moral good and being morally acceptable.
Geogeer
Posts: 4,274
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3/30/2016 5:08:08 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 5:06:05 PM, Seagull wrote:
At 3/30/2016 4:50:17 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 3/30/2016 4:07:10 PM, Seagull wrote:
At 3/30/2016 4:00:31 PM, Geogeer wrote:

https://en.wikipedia.org...

Perhaps you could apply the ethical framework to the question rather than just posting the link.

The nature-of-the-act condition. The action must be either morally good or indifferent.

Either acting or not acting can be seen as a preservation of life which is a morally good action.

The means-end condition. The bad effect must not be the means by which one achieves the good effect.

In neither condition the saving of people is not directly caused by the death of the other(s).

The right-intention condition. The intention must be the achieving of only the good effect, with the bad effect being only an unintended side effect.

You are not saving one/some for the purpose of killing the other(s).

The proportionality condition. The bad effect must not be disproportionate to the good effect.

In both cases you are saving life. Now is saving one life at the expense of 5 justifiable? Considering that it involves non-action it might be justifiable.

So in the trolley problem, either doing or not doing is morally acceptable.

Interesting. This draws an important distinction between a great moral good and being morally acceptable.

Basically it is about the means being moral in order to achieve the ends.
Seagull
Posts: 88
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3/31/2016 12:16:44 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 4:49:06 PM, UUU wrote:
Innocent men keep away from railway tracks.

You have broken the thought experiment haha.
DPMartin
Posts: 1,096
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3/31/2016 4:02:46 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
The one man shouldn"t die for the circumstances of the many if the decision is made by those who are trying to save their own skins. The man should die if it"s his decision to offer himself voluntarily to save the skins of others. Therefore, there is no ethical choice in killing the man who is no threat to you to save your own skins.

Unless that decision has been made by law to justify the decision to kill the man to save the many. The group in the trolley after the event will have to answer for their decision to those who are authorized by the law to do the same to them. As in take their lives away.

The souls in the trolley may agree to killing the guy using the justification of some concept like one and more than one. What if the trolley is full of murders and the man is a good man by all sense of the word? What if, what if, and that effort is to justify what everyone knows from the get go, would be unethical to force someone else pay to for their own circumstances.
skipsaweirdo
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4/3/2016 1:54:22 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

If you have ever formally studied ethics, you have likely heard of the so called "Trolley Problem." This problem illustrates an example as implied by the question.

"There is a runaway trolley barreling 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. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?" (1)

I am curious to here peoples thoughts. What do you think?
Jump off the trolley. The engineers who didn't design a redundant breaking system are to blame. The track engineers who didn't designed a runaway trolley breaking default are the responsible party(s). The people who didn't design an early warning system for people on the tracks are also to blame. Simply being put into a position doesn't mean you're responsible for what happens if you do or don't react in every case.
(1)https://en.wikipedia.org...
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,733
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4/3/2016 3:30:58 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
1. Morality is not justice. Justice means "fairness," it is a social measure as to whether or not our practices, as a people, promote certain people over others. Morality is an individual's ability to resist their innate urge to favor themselves over others. Morality and justice could be roughly equivocated by saying that morality is the measure of an individual and justice is the measure of the state (I define the state as Plato does, being simply a group of individuals, not necessarily the government).

2. The Trolley Problem is absolutely worthless as a moral inquiry. It does not address morality, it does not measure morality, it is entirely amoral. Morality is derived from one's natural propensity for pride; selfishness. You don't measure such things by suddenly planting somebody in a catch-22 and seeing how they react. Your moral state dictates what your scenario is, your scenario doesn't dictate what your moral state is.
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- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Quadrunner
Posts: 1,137
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4/4/2016 7:48:16 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

If you have ever formally studied ethics, you have likely heard of the so called "Trolley Problem." This problem illustrates an example as implied by the question.

"There is a runaway trolley barreling 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. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?" (1)

I am curious to here peoples thoughts. What do you think?

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org...

Where I draw the distinction here is your motive for pulling/not pulling the lever. If you believe that the greater good has a better chance in lying in the 5 people and you pull the lever, then you have made a moral decision, that will haunt you.

If you believe the 1 man is an esteemed doctor, who has the chance of saving the 5, and you leave the lever, you are making a moral decision, that will probably haunt you.

If your decision is indecision, then you were not willing to save any of the people and here I see an issue.
Wisdom is found where the wise seek it.
Seagull
Posts: 88
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4/4/2016 8:49:55 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/4/2016 7:48:16 PM, Quadrunner wrote:
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

If you have ever formally studied ethics, you have likely heard of the so called "Trolley Problem." This problem illustrates an example as implied by the question.

"There is a runaway trolley barreling 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. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?" (1)

I am curious to here peoples thoughts. What do you think?

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org...

Where I draw the distinction here is your motive for pulling/not pulling the lever. If you believe that the greater good has a better chance in lying in the 5 people and you pull the lever, then you have made a moral decision, that will haunt you.

Does motive impact morality?

"He who saves a fellow creature from drowning does what is morally right, whether his motive be duty, or the hope of being paid for his trouble."(1)

(1) http://www.utilitarianism.com...
Quadrunner
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4/4/2016 9:25:34 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/4/2016 8:49:55 PM, Seagull wrote:
At 4/4/2016 7:48:16 PM, Quadrunner wrote:
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

If you have ever formally studied ethics, you have likely heard of the so called "Trolley Problem." This problem illustrates an example as implied by the question.

"There is a runaway trolley barreling 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. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?" (1)

I am curious to here peoples thoughts. What do you think?

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org...

Where I draw the distinction here is your motive for pulling/not pulling the lever. If you believe that the greater good has a better chance in lying in the 5 people and you pull the lever, then you have made a moral decision, that will haunt you.

Does motive impact morality?

"He who saves a fellow creature from drowning does what is morally right, whether his motive be duty, or the hope of being paid for his trouble."(1)

(1) http://www.utilitarianism.com...

The person saying that quote is the only one who has the morals to save the drowning creature. Without his morals, the duty would be to something amoral, and without his money, the paid man would do nothing. Either way, without the correct motive from the leader, there is no is no guarantee of right doing. Those men in the quote are just like the lever in the original post. The lever is nothing if you cannot bring yourself to touch it. Indecision is amoral, or possibly immoral in this case. You must try.

Motive has everything to do with morals, because while the outcome might not be right, your actions should always be right if they are always connected to the right morals, such as the man giving orders in the quote. Although he didn't save the drowning man, he pulled the lever (the paid man) that saved him, because it was morally right. The paid man is still amoral. He is not even proven to be on the map of morality at this point. Without the motive, good things are called luck.
Wisdom is found where the wise seek it.
Quadrunner
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4/4/2016 9:48:34 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
I guess I'm just agreeing with rob1billion that your moral state determines your outcome, not the other way around.

If people die, which they do constantly, that is not because you are immorally allowing them to die. They are just dying. The outcome is amoral. Your inability to save them is amoral. You not caring is immoral.
Wisdom is found where the wise seek it.
The-Holy-Macrel
Posts: 777
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4/5/2016 12:35:55 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

If you have ever formally studied ethics, you have likely heard of the so called "Trolley Problem." This problem illustrates an example as implied by the question.

"There is a runaway trolley barreling 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. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?" (1)

I am curious to here peoples thoughts. What do you think?

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org...

Savzz moar!
keithprosser
Posts: 2,029
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4/6/2016 11:56:50 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/3/2016 3:30:58 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:

2. The Trolley Problem is absolutely worthless as a moral inquiry. It does not address morality, it does not measure morality, it is entirely amoral. Morality is derived from one's natural propensity for pride; selfishness. You don't measure such things by suddenly planting somebody in a catch-22 and seeing how they react. Your moral state dictates what your scenario is, your scenario doesn't dictate what your moral state is.

It seems that Rob wants to define the problem away to avoid answering it! It may be that trolley problems are not 'moral' issues (as R defines the terms), but there is an certainly an important issue there. In real life we are often in a position were what do do for the best is not clear and all we can hope to do is the 'lesser of two evils'. R has shied away from that.

One issue is whether morality (or other word defined to suit this context) does reduce to simple arithmetic - is saving a large number of people at the expense of smaller number automatically good? For example, does the sort of person involved matter? If not then sacrificing a sober, loving man with a wife and 2 young kids to save two murderers and rapists would be the right thing to do, which I am not sure is true. Unfortunately, that makes deciding what is right and wrong (or choosing the lesser of two evils) more difficult than comparing numbers!

A variation on classic trolly problems is that of a crowded room into which a grenade is thrown. Someone diving on the grenade to smother it would save everybody else, but no-one seems keen to do that. So Abel suddenly throws Baker on top of the grenade, thus saving everyone - except of course poor old Baker! If there were 12 people in the room, Abel's action saved 11 of them. In a trolley problem saving 11 for the price of 1 would be a good result, yet it is harder to say if Abel did an unequivocally good thing.
R0b1Billion
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4/9/2016 1:07:46 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/6/2016 11:56:50 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 4/3/2016 3:30:58 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:

2. The Trolley Problem is absolutely worthless as a moral inquiry. It does not address morality, it does not measure morality, it is entirely amoral. Morality is derived from one's natural propensity for pride; selfishness. You don't measure such things by suddenly planting somebody in a catch-22 and seeing how they react. Your moral state dictates what your scenario is, your scenario doesn't dictate what your moral state is.

It seems that Rob wants to define the problem away to avoid answering it! It may be that trolley problems are not 'moral' issues (as R defines the terms), but there is an certainly an important issue there. In real life we are often in a position were what do do for the best is not clear and all we can hope to do is the 'lesser of two evils'. R has shied away from that.

One issue is whether morality (or other word defined to suit this context) does reduce to simple arithmetic - is saving a large number of people at the expense of smaller number automatically good? For example, does the sort of person involved matter? If not then sacrificing a sober, loving man with a wife and 2 young kids to save two murderers and rapists would be the right thing to do, which I am not sure is true. Unfortunately, that makes deciding what is right and wrong (or choosing the lesser of two evils) more difficult than comparing numbers!

A variation on classic trolly problems is that of a crowded room into which a grenade is thrown. Someone diving on the grenade to smother it would save everybody else, but no-one seems keen to do that. So Abel suddenly throws Baker on top of the grenade, thus saving everyone - except of course poor old Baker! If there were 12 people in the room, Abel's action saved 11 of them. In a trolley problem saving 11 for the price of 1 would be a good result, yet it is harder to say if Abel did an unequivocally good thing.

Yes I am "shying" away from the issues. It's those "important" issues, you know when there's a grenade to throw somebody on or when I have to aim a trolley full of people into others tied on a track, those big issues that are plaguing our society right now that need answers :P

Morality is not addressed in the TP and I will prove it to you simply: what if a retard was in control of the situation? Being less quick with his wits as you or I, he would be unable to save lives and maximize utility as you or I would. Therefore you must call retards less moral, and that is a conclusion that destroys the TP as a moral measurement. Morality is not a battle of wits. It is not about making quick, effective, well-thought-out decisions to maximize utility and minimize harm. People who are more intelligent or educated are not morally-superior to those who aren't.

Of course that begs the question: "if morality is not present in the TP, then what is it and why is it absent?" Morality is simply the bias of an intelligent being (or more precisely, the ability to control said bias). I tend to value myself over others, illogically. My beliefs are prime, my life is prime, my people are prime, my country, my sports teams, my schools, my family, etc. That is an illogical bias and morality is the struggle against the bias of self. Applying that to the TP, there is no moral component. The actor is simply choosing a scenario that they believe is best. If I believe it is best to do something, then the outcome is irrelevant; all that matters is that I used logic as opposed to self-interest.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
fromantle
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4/11/2016 3:56:29 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
For me the obvious answer is save five and kill one.
An ideal moral act maximises well-being.
Governments are doing it all the time : drop bombs to destroy ISIS and kill some innocent people. Spend the money on improving the general heath sevice and not on aan expensive drug to save the few.
With hindsight it may prove the wrong choice but no action can have hindsight.
D1istortion
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4/15/2016 8:40:41 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 3/31/2016 4:02:46 PM, DPMartin wrote:
The one man shouldn"t die for the circumstances of the many if the decision is made by those who are trying to save their own skins. The man should die if it"s his decision to offer himself voluntarily to save the skins of others. Therefore, there is no ethical choice in killing the man who is no threat to you to save your own skins.


Unless that decision has been made by law to justify the decision to kill the man to save the many. The group in the trolley after the event will have to answer for their decision to those who are authorized by the law to do the same to them. As in take their lives away.

The souls in the trolley may agree to killing the guy using the justification of some concept like one and more than one. What if the trolley is full of murders and the man is a good man by all sense of the word? What if, what if, and that effort is to justify what everyone knows from the get go, would be unethical to force someone else pay to for their own circumstances.

I find it interesting that you said the man should die if he offers himself voluntarily because you help carry out his decision to die and in fulfilling his decision, this case may be considered some form of involuntary manslaughter or maybe even assisted suicide. Could breaking the law for the greater good be still considered immoral?

In regards to your last paragraph, it may be the case that the value of a human being can be measured. Is the good man worth more than the murderers? The answer would depend on whether or not every human being is of equal value. If everyone is of equal value, then the lives of the numerous murderers outnumber the one man and would then be valued greater than the man. If it is not the case that all human beings are valued equally, then perhaps the good man is worth more than the murderers because of his righteousness. It isn't easy to calculate the value of any given human being, at least I don't personally think so, and so I think it's a rather tough dilemma. To even further the dilemma, what if the person on the track was someone you knew? What kinds of implications might that have?
-Calvin
DPMartin
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4/15/2016 6:04:03 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/15/2016 8:40:41 AM, D1istortion wrote:
At 3/31/2016 4:02:46 PM, DPMartin wrote:
The one man shouldn"t die for the circumstances of the many if the decision is made by those who are trying to save their own skins. The man should die if it"s his decision to offer himself voluntarily to save the skins of others. Therefore, there is no ethical choice in killing the man who is no threat to you to save your own skins.


Unless that decision has been made by law to justify the decision to kill the man to save the many. The group in the trolley after the event will have to answer for their decision to those who are authorized by the law to do the same to them. As in take their lives away.

The souls in the trolley may agree to killing the guy using the justification of some concept like one and more than one. What if the trolley is full of murders and the man is a good man by all sense of the word? What if, what if, and that effort is to justify what everyone knows from the get go, would be unethical to force someone else pay to for their own circumstances.

I find it interesting that you said the man should die if he offers himself voluntarily because you help carry out his decision to die and in fulfilling his decision, this case may be considered some form of involuntary manslaughter or maybe even assisted suicide. Could breaking the law for the greater good be still considered immoral?

The law is the moral or morals therefore it is moral to conform or obey the law, and is relative to those bound to it by agreement. that said it is justified to obey the law because it is the fulfillment of the law that justifies. It bears witness if you will, that the action according to the law is justified. And righteous.

What supersedes that is mercy. Mercy always supersedes the law. The power and authority that is the law has the right to give mercy.

Now what scenario you want to play with in that context is on you.


In regards to your last paragraph, it may be the case that the value of a human being can be measured. Is the good man worth more than the murderers? The answer would depend on whether or not every human being is of equal value. If everyone is of equal value, then the lives of the numerous murderers outnumber the one man and would then be valued greater than the man. If it is not the case that all human beings are valued equally, then perhaps the good man is worth more than the murderers because of his righteousness. It isn't easy to calculate the value of any given human being, at least I don't personally think so, and so I think it's a rather tough dilemma. To even further the dilemma, what if the person on the track was someone you knew? What kinds of implications might that have?

I would disagree with the valuing of lives one over another, it corrupts the system, he who is more valuable to the football team gets away with much more than the average team mate. That is a corruption of man"s responsibility to do justice. And it doesn"t matter what people are and do, the person (or persons) that can make the decision is the one who would that decide according to his values, and what if he was working for Hitler for example.

therefore it is the law ( the agreed set of morals) and the mercy to supersede the law should be looked to for answers, to be justified. the fulfillment of one's own values that are contrary to what is already justified by law, isn't justified.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/22/2016 5:56:36 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

No, because I don't judge people by their actions, but by their character. Someone who is willing to kill someone, even if it's for the greater good, is not a virtuous one, for he is violating the principle of benevolence, which is the most important of the cardinal virtues.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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tejretics
Posts: 6,089
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4/22/2016 6:22:49 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/22/2016 5:56:36 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

No, because I don't judge people by their actions, but by their character. Someone who is willing to kill someone, even if it's for the greater good, is not a virtuous one, for he is violating the principle of benevolence, which is the most important of the cardinal virtues.

How would you justify the principle of benevolence as essential to the character of a person? Is there any intrinsic good/bad existent within actions themselves, or what those actions cause? If the former, why?
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Seagull
Posts: 88
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4/22/2016 6:27:46 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/22/2016 6:22:49 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 4/22/2016 5:56:36 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

No, because I don't judge people by their actions, but by their character. Someone who is willing to kill someone, even if it's for the greater good, is not a virtuous one, for he is violating the principle of benevolence, which is the most important of the cardinal virtues.

How would you justify the principle of benevolence as essential to the character of a person? Is there any intrinsic good/bad existent within actions themselves, or what those actions cause? If the former, why?

The most intrinsically good person with the best of intentions can often do things that have terrible results. Surely results have some kind of impact on the morality of an action.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/22/2016 7:32:28 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/22/2016 6:22:49 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 4/22/2016 5:56:36 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

No, because I don't judge people by their actions, but by their character. Someone who is willing to kill someone, even if it's for the greater good, is not a virtuous one, for he is violating the principle of benevolence, which is the most important of the cardinal virtues.

How would you justify the principle of benevolence as essential to the character of a person?
Consider the fact that compassion is inherently encoded in our nature. If I'm not mistaken, I believe the developmental and evolutionary psychologists agree with that. The principle of benevolence (ren), as described by Mencius, is grounded in the feeling of commiseration (ceyin zhi xin) which is inherent in us. It is by developing and extending this feeling that we cultivate benevolence.

This virtue belongs to what Mencius called the 'greater part' (dati) of our body. To cultivate the greater part is to ensure the proper functioning of the virtues that nature has endowed upon us; in other words, it is to stay healthy. Someone who ignores such virtues is unhealthy, a morally unvirtuous person.

You may probably argue that this is an appeal to nature or an is-ought fallacy, but consider, as an analogy, the opinions we share in the realm of environmental protection. I'm sure you'll agree that tree roots retain soil, and it is their nature to do so. It would be unhealthy to the ecosystem, and thus bad, for us to remove the trees, as this will, amongst other things, increase the risk of siltation, landslides and floods. Can we not say the same of the principle of benevolence, which, like tree roots, nature has conferred upon us?
Is there any intrinsic good/bad existent within actions themselves, or what those actions cause? If the former, why?
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
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Response to conservative views on deforestation:
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Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/22/2016 7:35:32 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/22/2016 6:27:46 PM, Seagull wrote:
At 4/22/2016 6:22:49 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 4/22/2016 5:56:36 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

No, because I don't judge people by their actions, but by their character. Someone who is willing to kill someone, even if it's for the greater good, is not a virtuous one, for he is violating the principle of benevolence, which is the most important of the cardinal virtues.

How would you justify the principle of benevolence as essential to the character of a person? Is there any intrinsic good/bad existent within actions themselves, or what those actions cause? If the former, why?

The most intrinsically good person with the best of intentions can often do things that have terrible results. Surely results have some kind of impact on the morality of an action.

But that's kind of circular, the way I understand your argument. Good intentions can lead to bad consequences, which are morally bad. But why are they morally bad? (Partially), because they have bad consequences...

I do think that consequences are relevant in judging the value of an action, just not its moral worth.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Seagull
Posts: 88
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4/22/2016 8:52:37 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/22/2016 7:35:32 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/22/2016 6:27:46 PM, Seagull wrote:
At 4/22/2016 6:22:49 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 4/22/2016 5:56:36 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/30/2016 3:50:19 PM, Seagull wrote:
Is it morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people?

No, because I don't judge people by their actions, but by their character. Someone who is willing to kill someone, even if it's for the greater good, is not a virtuous one, for he is violating the principle of benevolence, which is the most important of the cardinal virtues.

How would you justify the principle of benevolence as essential to the character of a person? Is there any intrinsic good/bad existent within actions themselves, or what those actions cause? If the former, why?

The most intrinsically good person with the best of intentions can often do things that have terrible results. Surely results have some kind of impact on the morality of an action.

But that's kind of circular, the way I understand your argument. Good intentions can lead to bad consequences, which are morally bad. But why are they morally bad? (Partially), because they have bad consequences...

I do think that consequences are relevant in judging the value of an action, just not its moral worth.

In turn, i dont think motive impacts the morality of an action.
skipsaweirdo
Posts: 1,870
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4/22/2016 9:14:46 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/9/2016 1:07:46 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 4/6/2016 11:56:50 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 4/3/2016 3:30:58 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:

2. The Trolley Problem is absolutely worthless as a moral inquiry. It does not address morality, it does not measure morality, it is entirely amoral. Morality is derived from one's natural propensity for pride; selfishness. You don't measure such things by suddenly planting somebody in a catch-22 and seeing how they react. Your moral state dictates what your scenario is, your scenario doesn't dictate what your moral state is.

It seems that Rob wants to define the problem away to avoid answering it! It may be that trolley problems are not 'moral' issues (as R defines the terms), but there is an certainly an important issue there. In real life we are often in a position were what do do for the best is not clear and all we can hope to do is the 'lesser of two evils'. R has shied away from that.

One issue is whether morality (or other word defined to suit this context) does reduce to simple arithmetic - is saving a large number of people at the expense of smaller number automatically good? For example, does the sort of person involved matter? If not then sacrificing a sober, loving man with a wife and 2 young kids to save two murderers and rapists would be the right thing to do, which I am not sure is true. Unfortunately, that makes deciding what is right and wrong (or choosing the lesser of two evils) more difficult than comparing numbers!

A variation on classic trolly problems is that of a crowded room into which a grenade is thrown. Someone diving on the grenade to smother it would save everybody else, but no-one seems keen to do that. So Abel suddenly throws Baker on top of the grenade, thus saving everyone - except of course poor old Baker! If there were 12 people in the room, Abel's action saved 11 of them. In a trolley problem saving 11 for the price of 1 would be a good result, yet it is harder to say if Abel did an unequivocally good thing.

Yes I am "shying" away from the issues. It's those "important" issues, you know when there's a grenade to throw somebody on or when I have to aim a trolley full of people into others tied on a track, those big issues that are plaguing our society right now that need answers :P

Morality is not addressed in the TP and I will prove it to you simply: what if a retard was in control of the situation? Being less quick with his wits as you or I, he would be unable to save lives and maximize utility as you or I would. Therefore you must call retards less moral, and that is a conclusion that destroys the TP as a moral measurement. Morality is not a battle of wits. It is not about making quick, effective, well-thought-out decisions to maximize utility and minimize harm. People who are more intelligent or educated are not morally-superior to those who aren't.

Of course that begs the question: "if morality is not present in the TP, then what is it and why is it absent?" Morality is simply the bias of an intelligent being (or more precisely, the ability to control said bias). I tend to value myself over others, illogically. My beliefs are prime, my life is prime, my people are prime, my country, my sports teams, my schools, my family, etc. That is an illogical bias and morality is the struggle against the bias of self. Applying that to the TP, there is no moral component. The actor is simply choosing a scenario that they believe is best. If I believe it is best to do something, then the outcome is irrelevant; all that matters is that I used logic as opposed to self-interest.
It's obvious the trolley problem is a loaded question fallacy so I assume any answer would be fallacious reasoning except your explanation. I mock it, you expose it, that's no fun.....lol