all 34 comments

[–]d3rr 4 insightful - 6 fun4 insightful - 5 fun5 insightful - 6 fun -  (3 children)

Simple, you crack under the pressure and throw yourself on the tracks in defeat.

[–]wizzwizz4 2 insightful - 4 fun2 insightful - 3 fun3 insightful - 4 fun -  (0 children)

That's one way of solving it.

[–]Tom_Bombadil 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Or... Invest in a proper trolley inspection and maintenance program.

[–]JasonCarswell 1 insightful - 2 fun1 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

You should have aimed for the head.

[–]AbeFroman 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (9 children)

I've never heard of this before. If the only options are kill one person or kill five, I'd choose to only kill one. Am I missing something?

[–]Snow[S] 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yeah, I always choose to do nothing in the trolley problem. If you pull the lever, this is a murder, if you do nothing, it's an accident. I think this question showing how many people are potential criminals of murder.

[–]magnora7 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

That's what I think too.

The idea is the killing 5 is the default action if you do nothing (and are therefore theoretically 'blameless because you did nothing' in some mental frameworks). But you are actively choosing to kill a person who otherwise was not in danger. That's the "dilemma". But I agree with you that in the end it's a numbers game.

[–]Snow[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (5 children)

I won't pull the lever if there is 5 billion VS 1.

[–]magnora7 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

You wouldn't want to save 4.999 billion people?

[–]Snow[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

I hate the idea of murder the minority and do it myself.

[–]magnora7 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

Yes, but in reality you're still responsible. Lack of action is still a choice you've made, especially when the action is trivially easy. That's how I see it anyway

[–]Snow[S] 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Do you know the moral machine?

http://moralmachine.mit.edu/

It changed the trolley to a self-driving car, "avoiding intervention" is a standard on there. I avoiding most intervention except it's going to kill dogs and cats.

[–]magnora7 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Interesting, I hadn't heard of that. Thanks for sharing

[–]PickleRick 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

What you're missing is that the composition of the people (age, demographics) vary, as well as how they got into the situation. In the real problem you'd have, let's say, five murderers who are running from the police against traffic, and one law-abiding pregnant woman doing everything she should be. Now who dies?

I propose that the question also needs to take into account that every pedestrian should be looking around even if they think it's safe. If the self-driving car is coming at you, don't assume it will stop. A woman was killed near me by a self-driving car while walking in the dark not looking at traffic. I don't care if you have right of way, that's a stupid thing to have on your tombstone. So if people are looking, they can be part of the solution, which changes things. The people on the other side of the street would not expect a car to swerve and come at them from the wrong direction, so they wouldn't be looking.

[–]Robin 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

It's not as simple as 5>1, all the framing details make a difference to response rates. For example, if you don't just have to pull a lever, you have to physically push someone onto the tracks the rate of doing that goes down.

[–]AbeFroman 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Interesting. So it sounds like we're missing some of the details of the question.

Edit: So there are many variations of this problem. Like the single person on the one side is your child, and the five people on the other side are strangers, etc...

[–]Snow[S] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

What if that 1 person is an alien?

[–]indianusjones 3 insightful - 4 fun3 insightful - 3 fun4 insightful - 4 fun -  (0 children)

It'll make the autopsy easier.

[–]JasonCarswell 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Or the one is a child and the 5 are 80 year olds.

[–]slabgreen 3 insightful - 4 fun3 insightful - 3 fun4 insightful - 4 fun -  (0 children)

Relevant XKCD: https://xkcd.com/1455/

[–]indianusjones 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

[–]Snow[S] 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (1 child)

I don't want to care what the Harvard said.

[–]indianusjones 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I know, Harvard can be abrasive sometimes but he's really fine once you get to know him!

[–]JasonCarswell 1 insightful - 5 fun1 insightful - 4 fun2 insightful - 5 fun -  (2 children)

But do we get to eat them after?

[–]PickleRick 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

They would be nicely tenderized.

[–]JasonCarswell 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Tenderized trolly meat in the Tenderloin.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenderloin,_San_Francisco

I lived just blocks from there and never did run into the Trolly Problem.

[–]hennaojisan 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

This, or a similar test, is one of the tests used to determine if a person is a psychopath. I do not remember the reasoning behind it though. A normal person like AbeFroman would opt for killing one. Maybe someone can enlighten us.

[–]wizzwizz4 3 insightful - 2 fun3 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 2 fun -  (5 children)

A normal person […] would opt for killing one.

Oh, seriously? They simplify a complicated ethical dilemma to "if you answered differently to me, you're a psychopath!"‽

[–]hennaojisan 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

Uh, that is not what I said at all. Are you a native speaker of English? If not fine. Let's find out what the problem is.

[–]wizzwizz4 3 insightful - 2 fun3 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 2 fun -  (3 children)

I am a native speaker of English, though I'm sure there are non-native speakers who understand dialects of the language foreign to my own better than I.

You said:

This, or a similar test, is one of the tests used to determine if a person is a psychopath.

and

A normal person […] would opt for killing one.

implying that somebody who does not is a psychopath according to the test. Is this not what you were saying?

[–]hennaojisan 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

As I said, I do not remember the rationale of the test and it is part of a battery of questions on the psychopathy quiz. Basically, a psychopath has no empathy for others at all but some can fake it and live somewhat normal lives. The others end up running large corporations and in politics or the CIA.

I know you are a native English speaker. It was Snow I was talking about. He doxxed me but where he lives is secret. That is fine with me. Also I was blotto, as in drunk, when I wrote that last night. No offense intended.

[–]wizzwizz4 1 insightful - 2 fun1 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 2 fun -  (1 child)

No offense taken; I say that sort of thing semi-regularly without meaning offense.

[–]hennaojisan 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I rarely get blitzed like that but a couple of old friends came over and forced me to drink. :) I should never post while drunk.

[–]humanbeingthrowaway 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

with the trolley problem, i always wondered.... if after the train gets the five, is there a way to stop it and back it up to the switch then throw it? asking for a friend