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He will die in the process. We presume your own body is too svelte to stop the trolley, should you be considering noble self-sacrifice. In numerical terms, the two situations are identical. A strict utilitarian, concerned only with the greatest happiness of the greatest number, would see no difference: In each case, one person dies to save five. The thought of seizing a random bystander, ignoring his screams, wrestling him to the railing and tumbling him over is too much.

Yet, if asked, people find it hard to give logical reasons for this choice. Assaulting the Fat Man just feels wrong; our instincts cry out against it. Nothing intrigues philosophers more than a phenomenon that seems simultaneously self-evident and inexplicable.

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Fat Man was developed by the philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson, in In , new German V-1 rockets started pounding the southern suburbs of London, though they were clearly aimed at more central areas. The British not only let the Germans think the rockets were on target, but used double agents to feed them information suggesting they should adjust their aim even farther south. The government deliberately placed southern suburbanites in danger, but one scientific adviser, whose own family lived in South London, estimated that some 10, lives were saved as a result.

The trolley problem and ethics of driverless cars - Newsnight

A still more momentous decision occurred the following year when America dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the argument that a quick end to the war would save lives — and by macabre coincidence, the Nagasaki bomb was nicknamed Fat Man. Similar calculations are being made right now. Lessons from the Trolley Problem. Sunday, October 20, Morality Decisions. What is it A trolley is approaching a track junction, and you happen to be standing by the switch.

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Listening Notes To start off the show, Ken presents the thought experiment referred to as the trolley problem. Author Thomas Cathcart. Related Blogs Lessons from the Trolley Problem May 16, There is nothing morally special about trolleys, except the historical accident that around thirty years ago the great philosophers Philippa Foot and Judith Jarvis Thomson used trolleys in a series of examples, originally to help us think about moral aspects of abortion.

Since that time a zillion articles have been written about the trolley problem, applying it to all sorts of moral issues. Books Cathcart, Thomas Bonus Content. Research By Tyler Haddow.

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Upcoming Shows. In both everyday life and science, we often feel the pull of simpler, more elegant, or more beautiful explanations. For example, you notice the Strange things are said about time: that it's illusory, that it has no direction.


But what about space, or the space-time continuum? Inspection copies are only available to verified university faculty. Some restrictions apply. To request an electronic inspection copy for course use consideration, please visit one of the following services to submit your digital examination request online:.

Add to Cart. More about this book. One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for Chapter 1 [PDF].

ISBN 13: 9780691165639

David Edmonds. Edmonds has written an entertaining, clear-headed, and fair-minded book. Sunstein, New York Review of Books. Edmonds's book is especially valuable for the way in which it embeds his introduction to the trolley problem in a story of the social reality that produced it.

Should You Kill The Fat Man?

A marvel of economy and learning worn lightly, Mr. Edmonds's book ranges pleasurably back to Aquinas and forward into the future of robots, who will of course need an ethics just as much as people do. Perhaps best of all, Mr. Edmonds recognizes that the origins of 'trolleyology' are at least as interesting as the many philosophical writings, academic exercises and parlor games that have sprung from the original trolley paper, published in by an English philosopher named Philippa Foot.

Written for general readers, the book captures the complexities underpinning difficult decisions. In the hands of a lucid explicator like David Edmonds, trolleyology is, at once, serious business relevant, among others things, to preferences for drone strikes and lots of fun. Not to be missed. David Edmonds has taken the well-known trolley car problem and breathed new life into it, examining it from different perspectives and using it to shed light on the ethical theories of Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, John Rawls, Aristotle, and others.

If you think philosophy has to be ponderous and difficult, you haven't read this book.