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View Poll Results: Would you push the large man onto the tracks?
Yes, I would push the man. 5 41.67%
No, I would not push the man. 7 58.33%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-26-05, 03:31 PM   #1
jakemoffatt
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Moral Dilemma

Here is a hypothetical situation to think about:

You are on a trolley headed towards a split in the tracks. To the left are 5 workers who will be killed by the trolley, and to the right is only one worker. Would you pull a switch to go to the right, knowing your decision will kill the one worker?

Now here is the poll question...

Keeping in mind your answer to the above hypothetical, imagine the situation is slightly different. You are standing on a lookout above the tracks. You can see a trolley coming down the tracks, bound for a group of 5 workers who will certainly be killed by the trolley. Next to you is a man whose body is large enough to stop the trolley. Do you push him onto the tracks to save the five workers?
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Old 10-26-05, 03:34 PM   #2
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Have you been reading those psychology and philosophy books again? I told you to leave them alone.

BTW....I want an option to grab a long 2x4 to use to push them ALL on to the tracks.
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Old 10-26-05, 05:53 PM   #3
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I would rather throw myself into the tracks than another person.

Reason is throwing myself is selfless sacrifice, while throwing the other person is murder.

Now for the switch....I wouldn't do anything other than alerting those fools to get the hell off the track....flipping that switch, even if it saved lives, would still be a deliberate act that knowingly would result in death.

On another note....why the heck can't these morons hear?
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Old 10-26-05, 06:48 PM   #4
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Just yell at them to get off the tracks.
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Old 10-26-05, 07:16 PM   #5
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It's friggin trolley going 10 mph!
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Old 10-26-05, 07:50 PM   #6
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Doesn't that trolley have brakes or bell?
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Old 10-26-05, 08:47 PM   #7
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I would call OSHA and tell them to get the paperwork started.
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Old 10-26-05, 08:56 PM   #8
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I would ask the fat man to throw himself into the path of it, that way it's not my fault since my skinnyass won't stop the thing anyway.
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Old 10-26-05, 09:11 PM   #9
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With only the information that you've provided, you are asking an economics question that is getting at responders' unstated assumptions that any five bodies probably are "worth" more than any one body. To make it a moral question, just imagine that the people in your example are some specific individuals that you know or have heard about. What if you like the one person and hate the five persons and the train is bearing down on the one person? What if the one person has a gun and he is aiming at Adolph Hitler who is among the group of five? What if it isn't five people on the track but 500 and the one person holds the only known cure for a rare cancer in his pocket, a cancer that effects about 200 people in the world? What if you have that rare form of cancer? What if 5M people have that rare form of cancer but making the cure will put billions of dollars into the bank accounts of people that hate french poodles? What if . . . ?

Last edited by wagathon; 10-26-05 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 10-26-05, 10:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagathon
With only the information that you've provided, you are asking an economics question that is getting at responders' unstated assumptions that any five bodies probably are "worth" more than any one body. To make it a moral question, just imagine that the people in your example are some specific individuals that you know or have heard about. What if you like the one person and hate the five persons and the train is bearing down on the one person? What if the one person has a gun and he is aiming at Adolph Hitler who is among the group of five? What if it isn't five people on the track but 500 and the one person holds the only known cure for a rare cancer in his pocket, a cancer that effects about 200 people in the world? What if you have that rare form of cancer? What if 5M people have that rare form of cancer but making the cure will put billions of dollars into the bank accounts of people that hate french poodles? What if . . . ?
It's too late in the evening to think like that.
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Old 10-26-05, 10:27 PM   #11
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What are the races of the potential victims?


...just kidding. Seriously. I would yell for the 5 to get out of the way (they'll die anyway, but oh well).

Morally, it's worse in my mind to kill a man than to let 5 die.
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Old 10-26-05, 11:39 PM   #12
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What a question... wow!

This kind of situation happens on the battle field in historical wars, one person dies to save 10 - 100 - 1000 or more. The difference is choice, that person had a choice. I could never kill one unknowing or unwilling to save a group.

Here is an interesting sinerio,

Movie "windtalkers"

Storyline, 2 navaho indians know a code that will get us out of world war 2, could possably save 100000+ lives on the battle field. One of the interpreters is captured and is in a bunker, they will tortue him until he talks. Main actor has a bomb and kills the interpreter and the 5 people holding him. One american solder killed saves 1000,000. He did not want to die, but another solder killed him to protect others...

What would you have done?
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Old 10-26-05, 11:59 PM   #13
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The Heroes of Pennsylvania had a problem somthing like this. They solved it.
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Old 10-27-05, 07:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my58vw
What a question... wow!

This kind of situation happens on the battle field in historical wars, one person dies to save 10 - 100 - 1000 or more. The difference is choice, that person had a choice. I could never kill one unknowing or unwilling to save a group.

Here is an interesting sinerio,

Movie "windtalkers"

Storyline, 2 navaho indians know a code that will get us out of world war 2, could possably save 100000+ lives on the battle field. One of the interpreters is captured and is in a bunker, they will tortue him until he talks. Main actor has a bomb and kills the interpreter and the 5 people holding him. One american solder killed saves 1000,000. He did not want to die, but another solder killed him to protect others...

What would you have done?
We still do that. There is a field in the navy, I forget the actual designation but its called cryptography. Once you have finished that course, you have a bodyguard that follows you everywhere around, when deployed overseas. That person is ready to pull your plug should you get in a situation that could result in a scenario like that.

I probably would opt for doing nothing in the above scenario. The provided scenario has no rational logistics behind it. And this is one of the many reasons why I avoid college and textbook courses with a plague. Only they could come up with a scenario so ridicously stupid and irrational.
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