Philosophy 101/Prof. Sears
Module #6 the Trolley Problem (Text Pages. 74-76)
The Trolley Problem is a fascinating scenario in the matter of evaluating moral ethics within individuals through a frightening yet stimulating scenario involving six workers representing six lives as well as the possibility of six deaths. Not all six will die but in this scenario all six of these workers lives are at risk. The other factors that represent this scenario are a trolley track divided into two separate directions. The next object placed in this scenario is a trolley driver who has lost control of the trolley because the breaks are malfunctioning. The driver is a non-factor as the trolley is picking up steam as it is hurtling down the track towards the workers. In this scenario you are supposed to be the one in charge of the last factor in this scenario, which happens to be the lever that controls which direction the trolley goes. The direction in which the trolley will go is important because right after the intersection five workers are stuck on one side of the track while only one worker or person is on the other.
The Trolley Problem brings up a ton of issues involving morals and ethics in regards to your ethical thought process. What would you really do hypothetically if you were really standing on a bridge looking at a trolley coming full speed in the direction of five workers on the trolley track oblivious to the Hades chariot that is coming right at them full speed ahead? Would you run to the lever and pull it saving the five workers leading to the death of one or would you be too afraid to make a deadly decision either way? This is compelling because there is a ton of factors that you would have to ask yourself in such a little amount of time that simply making a choice and being able to execute your decision in the allotted time frame can be overwhelming for some.
There are also other issues that stem from being the one that actually has to pull the lever and that has to do with personal ethics and morals. Some people will have an issue even placing themselves in this scenario by pulling on a lever and altering the course of destiny or they just do not want to morally get involved in any scenario that the results no matter what happens will end in death regardless of the number of deaths that are involved. The majority of us, when faced with this same scenario would probably weigh the positives with the negatives to determine if they would pull the lever making the decision more based on what is right verses what is wrong as well as weighing the overall impact of the decision they are about to make. This usually means the option that leaves the minimal amount of damage is the one most will jump to do. The reasoning behind this decision is really simple math. Five lives are better than one life.
Using the same trolley problem scenario, this time instead of their being a lever there for you to pull there is a highly overweight male considered to be obese standing on the bridge with you. In this scenario the only way to stop this deadly trolley from killing anybody is to push this heavy, overweight, obese man off the bridge and onto the trolley track in front of the trolley in hopes that this man and his weight issues can absorb the impact of the trolley thus alleviating the impact the trolley would have by the time it hits the workers potentially saving their lives. The major problem with this although from my understanding after reading the text, the text states that whether you push someone off a bridge or you simply pull a lever to save the lives of the five workers is the same thing. I strongly disagree with pushing someone to their death is the same thing. The overweight man was never in imminent danger, so to push him to his death is murder no matter how you slice and dice it. When it came to the lever scenario, whether it was the five workers or the lonely person on the second track the fact of the matter is all six of them were on the train track to begin with almost making the one person on the second track irrelevant. Because five lives outweigh one and I’m simply altering the direction of the trolley in the direction that will leave five men with life is a win. You can almost call the action of pulling the lever heroic in a since that you just saved five lives as opposed to watching five workers get trolleyed over to their death.