JUDITH JARVIS THOMSON THE TROLLEY PROBLEM PDF

The real culprit being unknown, the judge sees himself as able to prevent the bloodshed only by framing some innocent person and having him executed. Beside this example is placed another in which a pilot whose airplane is about to crash is deciding whether to steer from a more to a less inhabited area. To make the parallel as close as possible it may rather be supposed that he is the driver of a runaway tram which he can only steer from one narrow track on to another; five men are working on one track and one man on the other; anyone on the track he enters is bound to be killed. According to classical utilitarianism, such a decision would be not only permissible, but, morally speaking, the better option the other option being no action at all. An opponent of action may also point to the incommensurability of human lives.

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Messenger Imagine you are standing beside some tram tracks. In the distance, you spot a runaway trolley hurtling down the tracks towards five workers who cannot hear it coming. As this disaster looms, you glance down and see a lever connected to the tracks.

You realise that if you pull the lever, the tram will be diverted down a second set of tracks away from the five unsuspecting workers. However, down this side track is one lone worker, just as oblivious as his colleagues. So, would you pull the lever, leading to one death but saving five?

This is the crux of the classic thought experiment known as the trolley dilemma, developed by philosopher Philippa Foot in and adapted by Judith Jarvis Thomson in The trolley dilemma allows us to think through the consequences of an action and consider whether its moral value is determined solely by its outcome.

The trolley dilemma has since proven itself to be a remarkably flexible tool for probing our moral intuitions, and has been adapted to apply to various other scenarios, such as war, torture, drones, abortion and euthanasia.

Variations Now consider now the second variation of this dilemma. Imagine you are standing on a footbridge above the tram tracks.

However, there is large man standing next to you on the footbridge. So, would you push the man on to the tracks, sacrificing him in order to stop the tram and thereby saving five others? The outcome of this scenario is identical to the one with the lever diverting the trolley onto another track: one person dies; five people live.

The interesting thing is that, while most people would throw the lever, very few would approve of pushing the fat man off the footbridge.

Thompson and other philosophers have given us other variations on the trolley dilemma that are also scarily entertaining. Imagine you are a doctor and you have five patients who all need transplants in order to live. Two each require one lung, another two each require a kidney and the fifth needs a heart. In the next ward is another individual recovering from a broken leg. So, would you kill the healthy patient and harvest their organs to save five others?

Again, the consequences are the same as the first dilemma, but most people would utterly reject the notion of killing the healthy patient. Inconsistent or are there other factors than consequences at play? Actions, intentions and consequences If all the dilemmas above have the same consequence, yet most people would only be willing to throw the lever, but not push the fat man or kill the healthy patient, does that mean our moral intuitions are not always reliable, logical or consistent?

The former is active while the latter is passive. In the first trolley dilemma, the person who pulls the lever is saving the life of the five workers and letting the one person die. After all, pulling the lever does not inflict direct harm on the person on the side track.

But in the footbridge scenario, pushing the fat man over the side is in intentional act of killing. Thompson offered a different perspective.

She argued that moral theories that judge the permissibility of an action based on its consequences alone, such as consequentialism or utilitarianism , cannot explain why some actions that cause killings are permissible while others are not.

If we consider that everyone has equal rights, then we would be doing something wrong in sacrificing one even if our intention was to save five. Research done by neuroscientists has investigated which parts of the brain were activated when people considered the first two variations of the trolley dilemma.

They noted that the first version activates our logical, rational mind and thus if we decided to pull the lever it was because we intended to save a larger number of lives. However, when we consider pushing the bystander, our emotional reasoning becomes involved and we therefore feel differently about killing one in order to save five.

Are our emotions in this instance leading us to the correct action? Should we avoid sacrificing one, even if it is to save five? Real world dilemmas The trolley dilemma and its variations demonstrate that most people approve of some actions that cause harm, yet other actions with the same outcome are not considered permissible. Not everyone answers the dilemmas in the same way, and even when people agree, they may vary in their justification of the action they defend.

These thought experiments have been used to stimulate discussion about the difference between killing versus letting die, and have even appeared, in one form or another, in popular culture, such as the film Eye In The Sky. Bleecker Street Media.

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The Trolley Problem, by Judith Jarvis Thomson

Tojagal A utilitarian view asserts that it is obligatory to steer to the track with one man on it. Again, the consequences are the same as the first dilemma, but thhomson people would utterly reject the notion of killing the healthy patient. Basil Blackwell, originally appeared in the Oxford ReviewNumber 5, She argued that moral theories that judge the permissibility of an action based on its consequences alone, such as consequentialism or utilitarianismcannot explain why some actions that cause jarviis are permissible while others are not. Trolley problem As juidth disaster looms, you glance down and see a lever connected to the tracks. The general form of the problem is this:. Self-Sacrifice and the Trolley Problem. The interesting thing is that, while most people would throw the lever, very few would approve of pushing the fat man off the footbridge.

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Trolley problem

Messenger Imagine you are standing beside some tram tracks. In the distance, you spot a runaway trolley hurtling down the tracks towards five workers who cannot hear it coming. As this disaster looms, you glance down and see a lever connected to the tracks. You realise that if you pull the lever, the tram will be diverted down a second set of tracks away from the five unsuspecting workers. However, down this side track is one lone worker, just as oblivious as his colleagues. So, would you pull the lever, leading to one death but saving five? This is the crux of the classic thought experiment known as the trolley dilemma, developed by philosopher Philippa Foot in and adapted by Judith Jarvis Thomson in

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