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A trolley problem

keithprosser
Posts: 2,042
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10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!
Genius_Intellect
Posts: 339
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10/29/2016 10:06:40 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

Q3: Did Person A get laid by the person they saved?

That's what truly matters.
A1tre
Posts: 223
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10/29/2016 11:31:02 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

This is an interesting question.

The outcome is the same in both scenarios, 5 people die and 1 person survives. A Strict Consequentialist (SC) judges the morality of an action by its result, and hence would claim that persons A and B are morally equivalent, since the consequences of their action/inaction lead to the same outcome.

In contrast a Deontologist (D) judges the morality of an action by its adherence to rules and upon what motivation the action is based upon. From this point of view one can argue that person B intentionally kill 5 people, while person A does not intentionally kill anyone. Hence person A is morally superior to person B.

Personally I believe in a mixture of these two theories. That may sound like I am throwing consistency out of the window, but I think this mixture adds up and I will try to explain why I think so. Ultimately this mixture is consequentialist. For lack of better name and since I have seen others on this forum use the term, I will call it Rule-Consequentialism (RC).

RC is similar to SC in that both theories rely on the outcome of an action to judge its morality. They are different in that SC is far more shortsighted. In RC one must not simply consider the consequences of one's own action, but also include the consequences of others viewing that action and basing their actions upon what others have done before. Lets think of a current example: Two candidates are running for president of a country X. The people are about to hold an election and it seems the winning candidate is not the best option for the country. SC states that it is morally justified to remove that candidate in order to secure a better future for the country and hence maximize wellbeing. RC states that it not morally justified to remove the worse candidate since that may have long-term effects such as destabilization of the political system in that country.

The similarities of D and RC is that they both contain rules as guidelines of action. In D the rules may never be broken if one wishes to remain moral. In RC the rules can be broken if the outcome of an action compensates the damage of breaking the rule. For example, one could assume that the worse candidate will start a war leading to the imminent destruction of humanity. In that case the rule protecting the political system of the country simply looses its weight and can be dismissed.

I currently consider RC to be the most accurate moral theory, however I am aware there are still multiple points of critique that can be made of it.

How then should RC be applied to rate our two scenarios?
Again, the direct outcome is the same in both cases. The question then is whether letting 5 people die and leaving the other 1 alive is worse than actively killing 5 people and saving the other 1.

This question brakes down into two issues:
1) Can human life be compared numerically, is it better for 5 people to live than for 1 person?
2) Is actively killing somebody worse than passively killing somebody?

These are tough issues I don't necessarily have a good answer for at the moment. Maybe someone else can take the ball from here and explain their opinion.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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10/30/2016 12:32:21 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?

If the 5 people are inmates from death row as opposed to the one, innocent the person.

It depends on the reason person B intentionally killed the 5 instead of the 1. His motive is seemingly malicious. Motivations are fundamental when considering whether someone is acting immorally.

Q2: justify your answer!
keithprosser
Posts: 2,042
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10/30/2016 3:14:51 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/30/2016 12:32:21 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?

If the 5 people are inmates from death row as opposed to the one, innocent the person.

It depends on the reason person B intentionally killed the 5 instead of the 1. His motive is seemingly malicious. Motivations are fundamental when considering whether someone is acting immorally.

Q2: justify your answer!

I think it would better to assume that neither A nor B knows anything about the sort of people on the tracks, ie they only know the number of them.

Don't overlook it is possible A did not change the points because he maliciously wanted 5 people to die rather than 1 so we can't say they were morally equivalent or inquivalent by only considering B's motivation.

However I generally agree that it what matters is the intention to do good or to do evil.
Deb-8-A-Bull
Posts: 2,181
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10/30/2016 7:26:47 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

I myself would of foreseen accidents happening on and around the trolley lines, By making the public and all around aware of the dangers with big signs and pressure warning tracks. With loud alarms if track moment happens. Thus being more moral even though you could never know if you saved a single person.
NHN
Posts: 624
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10/30/2016 1:16:29 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/30/2016 3:14:51 AM, keithprosser wrote:
However I generally agree that it what matters is the intention to do good or to do evil.
How do you qualify the terms good and evil respectively? Moreover, how do you distinguish or evaluate a person's intent?
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,733
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10/31/2016 3:04:47 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/30/2016 7:26:47 AM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

I myself would of foreseen accidents happening on and around the trolley lines, By making the public and all around aware of the dangers with big signs and pressure warning tracks. With loud alarms if track moment happens. Thus being more moral even though you could never know if you saved a single person.

Perhaps tongue and cheek, but this is true "thinking outside the box." Most philosophy students focus on the problem so intently that they forget that all reality is stripped from the scenario; one is not magically dropped on a train and forced to kill people in real life. In real life there are events leading up to you being on the train, and those are the events that decide culpability. Therefore the TP is not a moral dilemma at all, because the real moral elements - those leading up to you being in that situation - have been eliminated from the exercise. What a person decides in the TP has zero moral relevance (of course it is assumed the subject wishes to do the right thing and that is all that matters), it is perhaps more of a stress test than anything else.
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.
A1tre
Posts: 223
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10/31/2016 7:54:06 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 3:04:47 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 10/30/2016 7:26:47 AM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

I myself would of foreseen accidents happening on and around the trolley lines, By making the public and all around aware of the dangers with big signs and pressure warning tracks. With loud alarms if track moment happens. Thus being more moral even though you could never know if you saved a single person.

Perhaps tongue and cheek, but this is true "thinking outside the box." Most philosophy students focus on the problem so intently that they forget that all reality is stripped from the scenario; one is not magically dropped on a train and forced to kill people in real life. In real life there are events leading up to you being on the train, and those are the events that decide culpability. Therefore the TP is not a moral dilemma at all, because the real moral elements - those leading up to you being in that situation - have been eliminated from the exercise. What a person decides in the TP has zero moral relevance (of course it is assumed the subject wishes to do the right thing and that is all that matters), it is perhaps more of a stress test than anything else.

This has nothing to do with "thinking outside the box" and everything with "completely missing the point". The point in this thought experiment is not to actually figure out how to act when a trolly is about to kill some people tied to the tracks. The point is to find a justification for your actions if you were in that scenario. The specific scenario itself will probably never occure in your life, however there are many similar scenarios that will occure. Scenarios, in which there are moral dilemmas. To deal with them it helps knowing in what way one should act to be ethical, and for that you need to be able to justify your actions.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,733
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10/31/2016 11:57:08 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 7:54:06 AM, A1tre wrote:
At 10/31/2016 3:04:47 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 10/30/2016 7:26:47 AM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

I myself would of foreseen accidents happening on and around the trolley lines, By making the public and all around aware of the dangers with big signs and pressure warning tracks. With loud alarms if track moment happens. Thus being more moral even though you could never know if you saved a single person.

Perhaps tongue and cheek, but this is true "thinking outside the box." Most philosophy students focus on the problem so intently that they forget that all reality is stripped from the scenario; one is not magically dropped on a train and forced to kill people in real life. In real life there are events leading up to you being on the train, and those are the events that decide culpability. Therefore the TP is not a moral dilemma at all, because the real moral elements - those leading up to you being in that situation - have been eliminated from the exercise. What a person decides in the TP has zero moral relevance (of course it is assumed the subject wishes to do the right thing and that is all that matters), it is perhaps more of a stress test than anything else.

This has nothing to do with "thinking outside the box" and everything with "completely missing the point". The point in this thought experiment is not to actually figure out how to act when a trolly is about to kill some people tied to the tracks. The point is to find a justification for your actions if you were in that scenario. The specific scenario itself will probably never occure in your life, however there are many similar scenarios that will occure. Scenarios, in which there are moral dilemmas. To deal with them it helps knowing in what way one should act to be ethical, and for that you need to be able to justify your actions.

Well for starters, you really didn't address my points, you just read my first sentence and then went off on your own.

So if I am on the trolley and wish to do the least harm, why is there any more to it than this? Why do i need any other "justification?" I don't wish to harm, I choose either action, and that's it. There's no moral element at all, you think there is just because somebody is dying but morality is not about death or pain or suffering or any of that. Just because those can possibly result from immorality doesn't mean they are the same. Morality is about the bias of choosing the self over others, and that element is missing in the TP.
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.
Perussi
Posts: 777
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10/31/2016 12:05:40 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

Person B is either an idiot or sadistic.
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A1tre
Posts: 223
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10/31/2016 5:59:33 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 11:57:08 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 10/31/2016 7:54:06 AM, A1tre wrote:
At 10/31/2016 3:04:47 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 10/30/2016 7:26:47 AM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

I myself would of foreseen accidents happening on and around the trolley lines, By making the public and all around aware of the dangers with big signs and pressure warning tracks. With loud alarms if track moment happens. Thus being more moral even though you could never know if you saved a single person.

Perhaps tongue and cheek, but this is true "thinking outside the box." Most philosophy students focus on the problem so intently that they forget that all reality is stripped from the scenario; one is not magically dropped on a train and forced to kill people in real life. In real life there are events leading up to you being on the train, and those are the events that decide culpability. Therefore the TP is not a moral dilemma at all, because the real moral elements - those leading up to you being in that situation - have been eliminated from the exercise. What a person decides in the TP has zero moral relevance (of course it is assumed the subject wishes to do the right thing and that is all that matters), it is perhaps more of a stress test than anything else.

This has nothing to do with "thinking outside the box" and everything with "completely missing the point". The point in this thought experiment is not to actually figure out how to act when a trolly is about to kill some people tied to the tracks. The point is to find a justification for your actions if you were in that scenario. The specific scenario itself will probably never occure in your life, however there are many similar scenarios that will occure. Scenarios, in which there are moral dilemmas. To deal with them it helps knowing in what way one should act to be ethical, and for that you need to be able to justify your actions.

Well for starters, you really didn't address my points, you just read my first sentence and then went off on your own.

So if I am on the trolley and wish to do the least harm, why is there any more to it than this? Why do i need any other "justification?" I don't wish to harm, I choose either action, and that's it. There's no moral element at all, you think there is just because somebody is dying but morality is not about death or pain or suffering or any of that. Just because those can possibly result from immorality doesn't mean they are the same. Morality is about the bias of choosing the self over others, and that element is missing in the TP.

The core question of ethics is not if we are good or bad. Ethics assumes we want to do good and askes how we can achieve that. It askes HOW we can be good. Simply wanting to be good does not necessarily result in actually being good. What if you wanted to be good by saving somebody's life, but in doing so you kill 5 other people. Don't you think it is a least controversial whether killing 5 people is good or not? Or does the inner picture of yourself as a good being lead to everything you do being good?

But maybe we are not even on the same page yet.
Morality is about the bias of choosing the self over others

Morality is much more than simply resisting the urge to do what is in one's own best interest. I have neither a benifit nor a loss from kiling a random homeless person I walk by. But it is still an immoral act for me to kill them.

I don't quiet understand why you have limited your understanding of morality to such a small definition.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,042
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10/31/2016 8:50:53 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 11:57:08 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
morality is not about death or pain or suffering or any of that. Just because those can possibly result from immorality doesn't mean they are the same. Morality is about the bias of choosing the self over others, and that element is missing in the TP.

So is your answer to question 1 in the OP that A and B are morally equivalent? And (OP question 2) do you justify your position on the basis that the context precludes consideration of morality?

Is there a modified version of the OP which would bring consideration of morality into play? For example, suppose the one-person involved was a relative, or even yourelf? I think most people who would say the moral thing to do would be to kill 1 to save 5 would not say someone who chose not commit suicide to save 5 strangers is actually immoral.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,733
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11/2/2016 2:47:28 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 5:59:33 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 10/31/2016 11:57:08 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:

So if I am on the trolley and wish to do the least harm, why is there any more to it than this? Why do i need any other "justification?" I don't wish to harm, I choose either action, and that's it. There's no moral element at all, you think there is just because somebody is dying but morality is not about death or pain or suffering or any of that. Just because those can possibly result from immorality doesn't mean they are the same. Morality is about the bias of choosing the self over others, and that element is missing in the TP.

The core question of ethics is not if we are good or bad. Ethics assumes we want to do good and askes how we can achieve that. It askes HOW we can be good.

Well morality and ethics are sometimes used synonymously and sometimes not. I think that ethics is a looser term, for instance "business ethics" or whatnot. In that case, I agree with your definition. Morality, however, is stricter.

Simply wanting to be good does not necessarily result in actually being good.

Sorry to dice words, but "wanting to be good" is not precisely what I am espousing. Wanting to DO good is entirely different than wanting to BE good. The former involves an effort to put self-bias aside and help others, while the latter is about justifying one's actions as good and establishing an identity of goodness. Wanting to be good necessarily implies selfishness, because being good only has meaning in context of other people and therefore such a person is actually the opposite of a moral actor. The moral actor - he who wishes to do good- will sacrifice identity so that others are raised. So this slight change of wording actually brings about the opposite of my meaning.

What if you wanted to be good by saving somebody's life, but in doing so you kill 5 other people. Don't you think it is a least controversial whether killing 5 people is good or not? Or does the inner picture of yourself as a good being lead to everything you do being good?

One who wishes to kill in order to achieve goodness is not doing a very good job! Again, there is a difference between mental justification of bad actions as good, and an actual tendency to do good. Moral relativist and consequentialists insist that because people can justify Anything that therefore goodness is arbitrary. Such people are typically saying such things in order to support their own justification. What most people are afraid to admit is that only through selflessness can we achieve the good. In essence, it is easier to make morality blurry than it is to actually make an effort to be selfless. Such self-deception is actually quite common in psychology... An interdisciplinary approach can be much more revealing than sticking to long winded philosophy books!

But maybe we are not even on the same page yet.
Morality is about the bias of choosing the self over others

Morality is much more than simply resisting the urge to do what is in one's own best interest. I have neither a benifit nor a loss from kiling a random homeless person I walk by. But it is still an immoral act for me to kill them.

Being selfless doesn't mean you're not doing what is in your best interest. Again, it is the opposite. I'm not sure how to argue this point however, it is more of a lofe-lesson than an argument.

I don't quiet understand why you have limited your understanding of morality to such a small definition.

Because it works, and it would be senseless to complicate it unnecessarily. And like I've said countless times already in both of these threads without any rebuttal thus far: it makes no sense that morality would be complex, otherwise only the most intelligent people could be good.
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.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,733
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11/2/2016 6:21:13 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 8:50:53 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 10/31/2016 11:57:08 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
morality is not about death or pain or suffering or any of that. Just because those can possibly result from immorality doesn't mean they are the same. Morality is about the bias of choosing the self over others, and that element is missing in the TP.

So is your answer to question 1 in the OP that A and B are morally equivalent? And (OP question 2) do you justify your position on the basis that the context precludes consideration of morality?

Yes, the scenario is basically amoral. I like culpability to be involved in a moral analysis, and since the actor had no part in tieing people to the tracks, he is simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Given that we encounter legitimately moral scenarios dozens of times every day, it seems dastardly to choose such a test.

Is there a modified version of the OP which would bring consideration of morality into play? For example, suppose the one-person involved was a relative, or even yourelf? I think most people who would say the moral thing to do would be to kill 1 to save 5 would not say someone who chose not commit suicide to save 5 strangers is actually immoral.

In this format, not really. Adding the self or somebody valued to the self only peppers in a motive, it is still a situation that the actor did nothing to bring upon himself or others and whatever decision he makes is just made out of desperation and stress.

The closest I could do to bring morality into the scenario would be to imagine the actor doing something selfish that brought it on. Perhaps he wanted excitement and didn't respect the risks involved, causing people to be harmed. Perhaps he was angry and put them on the tracks through vengeance. As you can see, the TP illuminates only the results of the moral actions. Results are up to nature, not morality. What matters to us here is the means, the part of the dynamic that we can control (not that which we cannot).
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.
Deb-8-A-Bull
Posts: 2,181
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11/2/2016 6:44:45 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/2/2016 6:21:13 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 10/31/2016 8:50:53 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 10/31/2016 11:57:08 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
morality is not about death or pain or suffering or any of that. Just because those can possibly result from immorality doesn't mean they are the same. Morality is about the bias of choosing the self over others, and that element is missing in the TP.

So is your answer to question 1 in the OP that A and B are morally equivalent? And (OP question 2) do you justify your position on the basis that the context precludes consideration of morality?

Yes, the scenario is basically amoral. I like culpability to be involved in a moral analysis, and since the actor had no part in tieing people to the tracks, he is simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Given that we encounter legitimately moral scenarios dozens of times every day, it seems dastardly to choose such a test.

Is there a modified version of the OP which would bring consideration of morality into play? For example, suppose the one-person involved was a relative, or even yourelf? I think most people who would say the moral thing to do would be to kill 1 to save 5 would not say someone who chose not commit suicide to save 5 strangers is actually immoral.

In this format, not really. Adding the self or somebody valued to the self only peppers in a motive, it is still a situation that the actor did nothing to bring upon himself or others and whatever decision he makes is just made out of desperation and stress.

The closest I could do to bring morality into the scenario would be to imagine the actor doing something selfish that brought it on. Perhaps he wanted excitement and didn't respect the risks involved, causing people to be harmed. Perhaps he was angry and put them on the tracks through vengeance. As you can see, the TP illuminates only the results of the moral actions. Results are up to nature, not morality. What matters to us here is the means, the part of the dynamic that we can control (not that which we cannot).

What about if we laugh at it. AND somewhat liked it. maybe even taped it to show others. Would this be immoral.
keithprosser
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11/2/2016 9:10:07 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/2/2016 6:21:13 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
Yes, the scenario is basically amoral. I like culpability to be involved in a moral analysis
Which scenario? A, B or both? I framed B to make person B appear culpable.

But suppose B switched the points because he genuinely believed that would cause the trolley to stop and no one would die. I think that highlights the difference between 'consequentialist' and 'intentionist' views of morality. I am not sure about deonotologists because I don't know what rule they are following yet!
skipsaweirdo
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11/2/2016 10:00:21 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/29/2016 11:31:02 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!

This is an interesting question.

The outcome is the same in both scenarios, 5 people die and 1 person survives. A Strict Consequentialist (SC) judges the morality of an action by its result, and hence would claim that persons A and B are morally equivalent, since the consequences of their action/inaction lead to the same outcome.

In contrast a Deontologist (D) judges the morality of an action by its adherence to rules and upon what motivation the action is based upon. From this point of view one can argue that person B intentionally kill 5 people, while person A does not intentionally kill anyone. Hence person A is morally superior to person B.

Personally I believe in a mixture of these two theories. That may sound like I am throwing consistency out of the window, but I think this mixture adds up and I will try to explain why I think so. Ultimately this mixture is consequentialist. For lack of better name and since I have seen others on this forum use the term, I will call it Rule-Consequentialism (RC).

RC is similar to SC in that both theories rely on the outcome of an action to judge its morality. They are different in that SC is far more shortsighted. In RC one must not simply consider the consequences of one's own action, but also include the consequences of others viewing that action and basing their actions upon what others have done before. Lets think of a current example: Two candidates are running for president of a country X. The people are about to hold an election and it seems the winning candidate is not the best option for the country. SC states that it is morally justified to remove that candidate in order to secure a better future for the country and hence maximize wellbeing. RC states that it not morally justified to remove the worse candidate since that may have long-term effects such as destabilization of the political system in that country.

The similarities of D and RC is that they both contain rules as guidelines of action. In D the rules may never be broken if one wishes to remain moral. In RC the rules can be broken if the outcome of an action compensates the damage of breaking the rule. For example, one could assume that the worse candidate will start a war leading to the imminent destruction of humanity. In that case the rule protecting the political system of the country simply looses its weight and can be dismissed.

I currently consider RC to be the most accurate moral theory, however I am aware there are still multiple points of critique that can be made of it.

How then should RC be applied to rate our two scenarios?
Again, the direct outcome is the same in both cases. The question then is whether letting 5 people die and leaving the other 1 alive is worse than actively killing 5 people and saving the other 1.

This question brakes down into two issues:
1) Can human life be compared numerically, is it better for 5 people to live than for 1 person?
2) Is actively killing somebody worse than passively killing somebody?

These are tough issues I don't necessarily have a good answer for at the moment. Maybe someone else can take the ball from here and explain their opinion.

Kill them all, let God sort them out later has always worked as my moral compass. After all, the ability to kill wouldn't exist if God didn't know people were going to do it, so there must be a justification in Gods mind as to why it will be done.
Geogeer
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11/2/2016 11:44:00 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/29/2016 2:56:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Scenario A is as usual. Person A comes along chooses to do nothing so five people die and one person is saved.
Scenario B is as before but with the points intially the other way around. Person B comes along and changes the points so 5 people die and one person is saved.

Q1: under what circumstances are persons A and B morally equivalent/inequivalent?
Q2: justify your answer!
R0b1Billion
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11/4/2016 2:26:35 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/2/2016 6:44:45 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 11/2/2016 6:21:13 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:

What about if we laugh at it. AND somewhat liked it. maybe even taped it to show others. Would this be immoral.

Well just because something is immoral doesn't mean it is acutely immoral. If you are asking me "yes or no" then I would be forced to say yes but the degree of immorality makes it rather benign. It's worth noting that morality is complex only when it doesn't really matter, but simple when the magnitude is great. The TP doesn't follow this pattern, which is a good indication that it is bvllshit. When you take a person's life, how often is it that you are without a choice in the matter? That doesn't really happen in real life, you either want to do it or it is out of negligence (a choice of disregarding safety). I suppose a third scenario would be self-defense, but the culpability is now on the attacker. It doesn't just blindside you without any chance for you (or the victim) to have any meaningful culpability!
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.
R0b1Billion
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11/4/2016 2:37:14 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/2/2016 9:10:07 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 11/2/2016 6:21:13 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
Yes, the scenario is basically amoral. I like culpability to be involved in a moral analysis
Which scenario? A, B or both? I framed B to make person B appear culpable.

Well at first blush the person in B does appear to be a little odd, but why did he switch the tracks to kill 5? Was it because he wanted blood? Or because he freaked out and made a poor decision under pressure? Intention makes the difference here.

But suppose B switched the points because he genuinely believed that would cause the trolley to stop and no one would die. I think that highlights the difference between 'consequentialist' and 'intentionist' views of morality. I am not sure about deonotologists because I don't know what rule they are following yet!

In that case I think he did the right thing. His intention was to save lives - a noble cause - and instead people died. Whether this is from outside trickery or his own incompetence, the fact is he was doing the right thing. If a consequentialist points to what I just said as evidence that deontology is wrong, then i would simply point out that this scenario is highly unusual and probably wouldn't happen during just about anybody's lifetime.
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.