Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Trolley Problem

"Don't be taken in by a hypothetical problem meant to impress beginners," warns Zac Alstin — A streetcar named moral confusion.


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Blogger Carl said...

I find this line of criticism to be a bit odd, since the point of introducing the Trolley Problem was as a criticism of utilitarianism/consequentialism. Foot was a neo-Aristotelian natural law theorist and felt the Trolley Problem showed that our intuitions were squarely against pushing the fat man. Judith Jarvis Thomson did a lot to popularize the problem and also took it that a straight-utilitarian approach would not square with our intuitions, so she introduced a concern for rights as a relevant difference between the two cases.

Maybe it is the case that certain teachers out there are using the Trolley Problem to argue for utilitarianism, but it hasn't been my experience as an educator.

4:57 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

It may indeed be odd. I was inspired to link remembering this post of a colleague on the latest popularizer of the problem -- Michael Sandel's Liberalism.

7:07 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

For a guy to be fat enough to do the job wouldn't he have to weight at least 600 or more pounds?

In which case pushing him off the bridge would be about as easy as pushing jabba the hut.

But if it could be managed, it would be an act of charity.

Think about it, some 600 pound guy is suddenly presented with the opportunity to die an heroic death, well of course he would want us to push him over.

5:06 PM  

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