Talk:Trolley problem

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My responsibility[edit]

What if the fat man on the bridge is me, and I'm all alone? Then I have the option to either commit suicide by jumping down on the trail to save the 5 people OR they'll be run over by the trolley. If I jump I will certainly die but the other ones will live. What good is saving the 5 people when you're dead? On the otherhand since I'm not taking any physical action (like pushing a man over the bridge) will I have the same "blood" on my hands?

This was the thought of Anton Tyrberg.

What good is living when the entire world will see you as a lazy, self-serving coward? -- 12.116.162.162 15:48, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
To sacrifice yourself so that others may live is commendable, but it is "above and beyond the call of duty". It is something that people may highly praise you for if you do it, but also that people will not condemn you for not doing it. As for the question of what good is to sacrifice yourself if you die in the process, that's something only the individual in question can answer for themselves. --RLent (talk) 06:33, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
A fat man who jumps himself can certainly aim his fall and save the five much better than a fat man who is pushed unaware (who will presumably try to resist, perhaps resulting in him dying a failing to stop the trolly). So this is why the switch and the fat man are not moral equivalents. A switch cannot switch itself and thus someone standing alone beside it must be responsible acting or failing to act, however a fat man is fully capable of choosing whether to jump and die a hero or to live and the five to die, so the skinny guy next to him is a red herring. So yes, you just solved this stupid problem once and for all by thinking, "hey, if I was the fat man what would I do?" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 119.254.231.147 (talk) 03:46, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

New Article[edit]

I suggest that this article should become part of a new one entitled "Philosophers with too much time on their hands."198.179.227.59 (talk) 00:56, 3 June 2010 (UTC)


No thanks. --75* 19:27, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

The Fat Man[edit]

Has anyone considered that maybe a significant reason why people wouldn't push the fat man in front of the trolley is because they're not convinced that would be enough to stop it? Or perhaps they're unsure as to whether they're able to push the fat man precisely enough to land directly in front of the trolley. We're not told how far he is from the trolley's path. We're not sure how much effort it would take to push him in front of the trolley. I mean, fat people are difficult to push. We'd have to use a lot of strength and get the timing just right. This case is not just a matter of ethics; it's also a matter of practicality and of our confidence as to whether we could actually stop the trolley using the fat man. Surely I'm not the only one who has noticed the practical problems with this scenario.

The problem is not meant to be 100% practical, it represents a (semi-realistic) situation so the person reading it can identify with the dilemma. For this type of question you must assume the facts as they are presented to narrow down the choice to the moral fundamentals of the problem. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.135.246.46 (talk) 11:01, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Assuming the facts as they are presented, still leaves a lot of cognitive dissonance, for exactly the reason he's pointed out. The mystery is to where this resistance to the fat man scenario comes from, despite similarities in consequences, and I think his answer to that question is worth considering. I think this problem is an excellent case study about how the very methodology we use to examine moral problems, is capable of obfuscating nonetheless valid moral points. The temptation on my part is to say that the fat man scenario should be re-written, but the reasons why I feel it should be re-written add a lot of value to the problem, and those would be lost if the fates of the train and its passengers after the fat man was pushed in front of it were made more certain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.17.184.142 (talk) 22:30, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Judy Collins transplant situation is similar, and gets a similar response. 130.18.243.137 (talk) 06:55, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with the OP. Even though the researcher may tell the subject that he must assume that the fat man will stop the trolley, the subject is considering his response as if it were a real life scenario, and surely he'll take these doubts into account. Branchc (talk) 19:57, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
The scenarios are ONLY equivalent if you remove all the practical differences and abstract them all back to: "you're forced to save 5 and kill 1 or kill 1 and save 5". If you instinctively have a problem with the "pushing the fat man" scenario, might it not have something to do witht the practical impossibility of pushing a massive man? He presumably weighs a lot more than 5 men; since the scenario specifies that the "trolly" definitely will kill 5 people and definitely be stopped by one massive man. Assuming the men are big men weighing say 100kg including clothes etc, that means the fat man must weight a lot more than 500kg for him to stop it. I don't think I could push someone weighing 200kg against their will. So either you're adding superpowers to the scenario (raising the question why I cannot use my super strength to stop the trolly with my bare hands instead? The man must weight at least as much as the trolley if not more to guarantee he will stop it.) or you agree that the man might not stop the trolley at all and you'll end up murdering an innocent bystander AND killing 5 guys that willingly accepted the risk of being on the track. Qvasi (talk) 13:43, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Off-topic chat[edit]