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  1. #1
    Ginkgo
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    Question The Trolley Moral Dilemma

    Scenario 1: You are a trolley conductor. As your trolley rounds a quick corner you see the unthinkable, 5 people have been tied on the tracks and you now find the breaks have been cut. However, you see that you can switch tracks... only to kill one person who otherwise would have been unharmed, but is also tied down. What do you do?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Read this only AFTER you have made your decision.



    Did you "save" those five people? or did you kill one? the wording is incredibly important as you will soon see in the 100% identical Scenario 2.



    Scenario 2: You are a trolley conductor... again... who is now walking across a low lying bridge on which trolley tracks are running underneath. There are 5 people tied to the tracks as a trolley moves to end them! But wait, you see a particularly *wide* individual on the bridge.... one who could easily stop the trolley. Do you push that person over, stopping the trolley, or walk away saying the situation isn't your responsibility?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    I would switch the tracks, the single person isn't tied up and he's got legs for a reason!

  3. #3
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    I would switch the tracks, the single person isn't tied up and he's got legs for a reason!
    No, he will die and you will be responsible.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    Never said he wouldn't! The choice is easy to me, save 5 helpless lives at the cost of 1 who at the very least could value his enough to stay off the tracks. I wouldn't feel responsible for his death, just as I don't feel responsible for circumstances I face in life that are not of my creation.

  5. #5
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    Never said he wouldn't! The choice is easy to me, save 5 helpless lives at the cost of 1 who at the very least could value his enough to stay off the tracks. I wouldn't feel responsible for his death, just as I don't feel responsible for circumstances I face in life that are not of my creation.
    But who is to value 1 life over 5 lives? Human life is intangible, and thus immeasurable.

    I mean, let's say - hypothetically speaking - that the single person was a complete angel who would have gone on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and the 5 people were actually serial killers. At that point, how can you measure the quality of a life over the quantity?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    But who is to value 1 life over 5 lives? Human life is intangible, and thus immeasurable.

    I mean, let's say - hypothetically speaking - that the single person was a complete angel who would have gone on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and the 5 people were actually serial killers. At that point, how can you measure the quality of a life over the quantity?
    I can't, and I can't know either of these things right? Have to make the best decision based on what I know and accept the consequences, because hesitation has its own set of consequences and sometimes they are far worse.

  7. #7
    Phantonym
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    In the first scenario, I'd kill that one person. The second scenario...ooh...tough one. I can't see myself really pushing that person over but I know I'd feel guilty either way. Simply walking away would be just as bad. This is kind of weird because in the first scenario 1<5, but in the second it feels like 1=5. Maybe it's about the body contact when I'd actually have to touch the person to push them over while in the first I'd still be driving the trolley but it sort of acts as a buffer between me and the person.

  8. #8
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    In the first scenario, I'd kill that one person. The second scenario...ooh...tough one. I can't see myself really pushing that person over but I know I'd feel guilty either way. Simply walking away would be just as bad. This is kind of weird because in the first scenario 1<5, but in the second it feels like 1=5. Maybe it's about the body contact when I'd actually have to touch the person to push them over while in the first I'd still be driving the trolley but it sort of acts as a buffer between me and the person.
    Does not making the decision to actively kill someone detract from your accountability as a murderer?

  9. #9
    Phantonym
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    Does not making the decision to actively kill someone detract from your accountability as a murderer?
    No, it doesn't. Indecision would still kill the others. Either way, people will die. And that's why they call it the dilemma.

  10. #10
    mountain surfing nomadic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    Does not making the decision to actively kill someone detract from your accountability as a murderer?
    somewhat.

    it does remove you one degree from the actual death.

    Me, i'd just try to put on the emergency brakes. I think all trains have emergency brakes.


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