The Trolley Problem and Why I Wouldn’t Pull The Switch

  1. People tend to believe you can only either be a utilitarianist (someone who wants to maximize utility) or a deontologist (someone who wants to follow a strict set of moral rules) when it comes to the trolley problem.
  2. An overwhelming majority look towards utilitarianism for an answer, which is something I disagree with.
  3. The wealth of information that exists on approaches to the problem are usually hidden in esoteric philosophy papers that are completely inaccessible to a general audience.

Driver In Trolley (DIT) Scenario

Does the driver continue down the trolley tracks and kill five, or steer left and kill one instead?

Same Ends, Different Means

Bystander At Switch (BAS) Scenario

The infamous trolley problem: do you flip the switch or not?

How Do We Measure Utility?

  1. Five registered sex offenders VS One doctor
  2. Five decent middle class workers VS One wealthy philanthropist
  3. Five high school students VS One elderly war veteran

Utilities VS Rights

Difference In Answers Between DIT and BAS

Bystander On Footbridge (BOF) Scenario

If you would flip the switch in BAS, would you push the man?
Image taken from article “Your Morals Depend On Language” by Albert Costa, Alice Foucart, Sayuri Hayakawa, Melina Aparici, Jose Apesteguia, Joey Heafner, Boaz Keysar

The Double Effect

My Personal Take on BOF

My Argument Thus Far

Bystander’s Three Options (BTO) Scenario

Now that sacrificing yourself is also an option, who would you sacrifice?

The Issue of Self-Sacrifice

Revisiting My Arguments Again

Driver’s Three Options (DTO) Scenario

If self-sacrifice is now an option for the driver, how does it affect his decision?

Heroism or Lunacy?

Bystander At Switch, Gun w/ Five Men Version

You’re about to die but you’re armed with a gun, who can you shoot to stay alive, or can you even shoot at all?

Who Can The Five Men Shoot In Self-Defense?

Summary Of The Five Men’s Case For Self-Defense

None of the five men are eligible for self-defense against any of the other parties in the scenario

Bystander At Switch, Gun w/ Lone Man Version

You’re about to die but you’re armed with a gun, who can you shoot to stay alive, or can you even shoot at all?

Who Can The Lone Man Shoot In Self-Defense?

Summary Of The Lone Man’s Case For Self-Defense

The Lone Man can only be justified in shooting the bystander if the bystander attempts to pull the switch

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

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This is what you get when you have free time and too many thoughts in your head.

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Hong Chu Yan

Hong Chu Yan

This is what you get when you have free time and too many thoughts in your head.

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