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Original dilemma[ edit ] Foot's original structure of the problem ran as follows: Suppose that a judge or magistrate is faced with rioters demanding that a culprit be found for a certain crime and threatening otherwise to take their own bloody revenge on a particular section of the community.
The real culprit being unknown, the judge sees himself as able to prevent the bloodshed only by framing some innocent person and having him executed. Beside this example is placed another in which a pilot whose airplane is about to crash is deciding whether to steer from a more to a less inhabited area.
To make the parallel as close as possible it may rather be supposed that he is the driver of a runaway tram which he can only steer from one narrow track on to another; five men are working on one track and one man on the other; anyone on the track he enters is bound to be killed.
In the case of the riots the mob have five hostages, so that in both examples the exchange is supposed to be one man's life for the lives of five.
According to classical utilitarianism, such a decision would be not only permissible, but, morally speaking, the better option the other option being no action at all. An opponent of action may also point to the incommensurability of human lives.
Under some interpretations of moral obligationsimply being present in this situation and being able to influence its outcome constitutes an obligation to participate. If this is the case, then deciding to do nothing would be considered an immoral act if one values five lives more than one.
Related problems[ edit ] Five variants of the trolley problem: The central question that these dilemmas bring to light is on whether or not it is right to actively inhibit the utility of an individual if doing so produces a greater utility for other individuals.
The initial trolley problem also supports comparison to other, related, dilemmas: The Fat Man[ edit ] As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people.
You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by putting something very heavy in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you — your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five.
Resistance to this course of action seems strong; when asked, a majority of people will approve of pulling the switch to save a net of four lives, but will disapprove of pushing the fat man to save a net of four lives.
One clear distinction is that in the first case, one does not intend harm towards anyone — harming the one is just a side effect of switching the trolley away from the five.
However, in the second case, harming the one is an integral part of the plan to save the five. This is an argument which Shelly Kagan considers and ultimately rejects in his first book The Limits of Morality.
This solution is essentially an application of the doctrine of double effectwhich says that you may take action which has bad side effects, but deliberately intending harm even for good causes is wrong.
Another distinction is that the first case is similar to a pilot in an airplane that has lost power and is about to crash into a heavily populated area. Even if the pilot knows for sure that innocent people will die if he redirects the plane to a less populated area—people who are "uninvolved"—he will actively turn the plane without hesitation.
It may well be considered noble to sacrifice your own life to protect others, but morally or legally allowing murder of one innocent person to save five people may be insufficient justification. In this instance, pushing the villain to his death, especially to save five innocent people, seems not only morally justifiable but perhaps even imperative.
The loop variant[ edit ] The claim that it is wrong to use the death of one to save five runs into a problem with variants like this: As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people and you can divert it onto a secondary track.
However, in this variant the secondary track later rejoins the main track, so diverting the trolley still leaves it on a track which leads to the five people.
But, the person on the secondary track is a fat person who, when he is killed by the trolley, will stop it from continuing on to the five people. Should you flip the switch? The only physical difference here is the addition of an extra piece of track. This seems trivial since the trolley will never travel down it.
The reason this might affect someone's decision is that in this case, the death of the one actually is part of the plan to save the five.
The rejoining variant may not be fatal to the "using a person as a means" argument. This has been suggested by Michael J.
Costa in his article "Another Trip on the Trolley", where he points out that if we fail to act in this scenario we will effectively be allowing the five to become a means to save the one.
If we do nothing, then the impact of the trolley into the five will slow it down and prevent it from circling around and killing the one. This approach requires that we downplay the moral difference between doing and allowing.
Transplant[ edit ] Here is an alternative case, due to Judith Jarvis Thomson containing similar numbers and results, but without a trolley: A brilliant transplant surgeon has five patients, each in need of a different organ, each of whom will die without that organ.
Unfortunately, there are no organs available to perform any of these five transplant operations.The trolley problem is a specific ethical thought experiment among several that highlights the difference between deontological and consequentialist ethical systems.
The central question that these dilemmas bring to light is on whether or not it is right to actively inhibit the utility of an individual if doing so produces a greater utility for other individuals.
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Feb 25, · Homelessness burst its traditional borders several years ago, spreading first to gloomy underpasses and dim side streets, and then to public parks . MAJOR COMMUNITY PROBLEMS – Our work on the Project and its themes began with understanding our community.
Unfortunately, every community has its problems and talking about major community problems nowadays is inevitable. Nevertheless, learning about community, its challenges and opportunities eventually leads to a better society.