Trolley Dilemma

What would you do if?

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Dimmesdale
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Trolley Dilemma

Post #1

Post by Dimmesdale »

If it was in your power to alter the outcome so that one person died instead of seven, would you act on it?

I wouldn't. And this is why.

I am not the controller of your (individual) destiny. I do not have the right to decide your (specific) fate. If it was inevitable that seven persons should die, then that would be inevitable. It would not have been inevitable for the one person to die. That would be solely in my hands. I do not arrogate the right to decide for any one person his or her fate.

But, if this were an even greater number than seven, say, 15 or 20 or 30, I would at least begin to think differently. Such an increased number would cause something to "click" in me. I don't like to think that numbers decide the matter in that case, but they do for me. And here is why.

If a "sizeable" (I know, a vague term, but I digress) chunk of the population of the world would be involved, I would cease to think of individual lives, and I would begin to think of collective life. I would think in terms of the population at large, at how the community would be harmed. How the nation and world would fare. I would begin to think in terms of war.

Thus I would doom the one over the many on the basis that the right of the collective has to trump the right of the individual, and that the individual ought to consent to such a conclusion based on him or her living in the society and having such loyalty to the community at large.

It is still arbitrary given just "when" the cut-off is, but I think as a general principle this is sound reasoning. It just seems so to me.

Would you save the seven over the one, or the 15 over the one? Why or why not?

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Miles
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Re: Trolley Dilemma

Post #2

Post by Miles »

Dimmesdale wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:15 am If it was in your power to alter the outcome so that one person died instead of seven, would you act on it?

I wouldn't. And this is why.

I am not the controller of your (individual) destiny. I do not have the right to decide your (specific) fate. If it was inevitable that seven persons should die, then that would be inevitable. It would not have been inevitable for the one person to die. That would be solely in my hands. I do not arrogate the right to decide for any one person his or her fate.

But, if this were an even greater number than seven, say, 15 or 20 or 30, I would at least begin to think differently. Such an increased number would cause something to "click" in me. I don't like to think that numbers decide the matter in that case, but they do for me. And here is why.

If a "sizeable" (I know, a vague term, but I digress) chunk of the population of the world would be involved, I would cease to think of individual lives, and I would begin to think of collective life. I would think in terms of the population at large, at how the community would be harmed. How the nation and world would fare. I would begin to think in terms of war.

Thus I would doom the one over the many on the basis that the right of the collective has to trump the right of the individual, and that the individual ought to consent to such a conclusion based on him or her living in the society and having such loyalty to the community at large.

It is still arbitrary given just "when" the cut-off is, but I think as a general principle this is sound reasoning. It just seems so to me.

Would you save the seven over the one, or the 15 over the one? Why or why not?
Lacking any choice in the matter, I would do as I am destined to do, as would you.


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Re: Trolley Dilemma

Post #3

Post by Dimmesdale »

Miles wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:16 pm
Lacking any choice in the matter, I would do as I am destined to do, as would you.


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Sigh, well, what if you did have free will, then, hypothetically? OR a compatibilist will? It seems to me a big drawback of no free will in that it leaves aside these moral conundrums....

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Re: Trolley Dilemma

Post #4

Post by Miles »

Dimmesdale wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:36 pm
Miles wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:16 pm
Lacking any choice in the matter, I would do as I am destined to do, as would you.


.
Sigh, well, what if you did have free will, then, hypothetically? OR a compatibilist will? It seems to me a big drawback of no free will in that it leaves aside these moral conundrums....
It certainly does; however, if there was such a thing as free will then all else being equal---I know equally as much about the single person as I do about the 7, 15, 20, or 30,---I'd opt to save the greater number.


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Last edited by Miles on Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dimmesdale
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Re: Trolley Dilemma

Post #5

Post by Dimmesdale »

Miles wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:14 pm
Dimmesdale wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:36 pm
Miles wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:16 pm
Lacking any choice in the matter, I would do as I am destined to do, as would you.


.
Sigh, well, what if you did have free will, then, hypothetically? OR a compatibilist will? It seems to me a big drawback of no free will in that it leaves aside these moral conundrums....
It certainly does; however, if there was such a thing as free choice then all else being equal---I know equally as much about the single person as I do about the 7, 15, 20, or 30,---I'd opt to save the greater number.


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If I knew the one person better, that for me would change this considerably. I don't know people in general. In the States where I live people are very individualistic. But I'm sure a great deal of people are nonetheless selfless, and so would be willing to die to save others. I don't know - I suppose I should look into polls and such, but should I risk treading on someone's rights even then? Idk....

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