A New Trolley Problem By Roderick on November 21, 2008 17 (For the philosophers.) Suppose there is a trolley. Should we blow it up? Ethics
OK I’ll bite… what on earth are you talking about?
WE’LL DO IT! But we’re not doing it for the money. And we’re not doing it for the sake of ethics! We’re doing it because… We like blowing up trolleys!
(with apologies to Yakko Warner)
Surely there must be some way we can kill all of them…
Is the driver the only one on the trolley? Is the driver morally blameless like in the original? Did the driver choose the one or the five?
It is common knowledge that trolleys are always out to kill people, so we should blow it up.
With whom (like Hume) do I have more sympathy? The one or the several? Without adding something more to the scenario – i.e., the death of the one will be protracted and excruciating while the death of the several will be instantaneous (or the reverse) – there is no basis on which to sympathize with any impending victim more than another. The result is an aggregation of identical quantities of sympathy and the Humean naturalistic approach becomes operationally equivalent to Bentham’s utilitarian approach.
Perhaps it is more virtuous for the person controlling the switch to try vainly to save everyone and fail either the one or the several? That person would not kill by omission, nor would she intentionally kill any.
Only if the trolley is owned by a large corporation and blowing it up will bring us one step closer to anarchy…or if the economy will be stimulated by the manufacture of new trolleys (and explosives!)…or if by “blow up” you mean that we have superhuman lung power and can actually use our breath as a form of propulsion, thus providing an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel consumption. One Nobel Prize, please.
Fox news on this post: “Self-proclaimed ‘anarchists’ announce plans to bomb public transportation!”
BLOW IT UP! FOR GREAT JUSTICE!
Has the trolley committed an act of war? ( :
Our society is plagued by rouge trolleys causing both lost of life and philosophical puzzlement. I will not stand by while these dangerous machines threaten our physical and mental well being. There’s only one sane solution: blow it up!
Why you gotta be hatin’ on trolleys?
Well, that’s my morning’s productivity wasted. I am still going to be laughing at this by lunchtime.
Who is this “we” you refer to?
The anarcho-borg we.
There is too little information about the trolley. Without more contextual information about the trolley, its ownership, its state of repair, its location, etc., and more information as to why a decision was made to destroy the trolley, its really hard to make any decision about it.