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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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The train question - January 5th 2017, 06:18 PM

I feel like this was posted like 4 years ago, but even so, I feel like its not a bad idea to refresh the question.
So here's a hypothetical: there are 5 people tied to a train track, with a train headed right towards them. However, the track has a split before it reaches them, and there is one person on the other track where it splits off. If YOU pull a lever, the train will change direction and kill that one person (saving 5 people), but if you do nothing, 5 people will die (saving one person). Without any context regarding the people on the track (like how good the people are, what they do), do you pull the lever or not, and why?
You can also give a separate answer where there's a context (like if the 5 are death row inmates compared to someone like Ghandi on the other side; not the only scenario, but that's one).
I'll give my answer after other people answer it.


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Re: The train question - January 5th 2017, 06:41 PM

Ok im probably going to be the only person to say this, but i would not pull the leaver, saving only one person. And i say that because there are 7.6 billion people in the world ish-ish right now right? Well the world is way overly populated and poluted. If i do pull the leaver saving five people probably with familys, well i am not helping the world. But if i dont pull the leaver, thats 5 people gone. Yes this sounds awful and i probably sound like a phsyco but the world is dying because of humans, and now i dont think we should all jump off a cliff, but i do believe in natural selection etc. Well thats my answer, i really enjoyed answering it tbh.
   
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Re: The train question - January 5th 2017, 07:13 PM

I would save as many people as possible without context. Now, if the one person is a family member or friend, it's no contest, I'd save them every time, but then the one person you love will live with the fact that they were spared when five others died. I'd still save him/her, but it would suck that they would carry that.


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Re: The train question - January 6th 2017, 02:58 AM

I suppose the point of this question is to point out that if you choose to pull the lever, you are choosing to kill 1 person. However, if you choose to not pull the lever you are letting the Universe determine the "fate" of the 5 by doing nothing to change the circumstances at hand. Of course, I think most would choose to pull the lever solely to minimize damage. Then come the problem of whether those 5 people are criminals, and the 1 person is a saint (or whatever permutation you use), etc.

Large scale I think it's interesting to think of things like this in terms of war. If people are harming innocent people, do we then kill more innocent people and "bad guys" to circumvent the original crime? I consider myself a pacifist, but I find at times it's hard to deal with these types of questions.


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Re: The train question - January 6th 2017, 05:29 AM

These questions stress me out so much. I just end up sitting there imagining the guilt of knowing I let someone die. And then there's all these added stuff like what if it turns out the 5 people were actually train workers on the tracks and they have their own signal for saving themselves.

Also yesterday (well technically 2 days ago) there was a derailing of the LIRR in Brooklyn, which, not to tell the public forum but I live really close to that area. So yikes I don't know what I would do. What a horrible position to be in!
   
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Re: The train question - January 6th 2017, 05:18 PM

I would do what I could to save the most people without context. However, if the one person was family or I knew that the five people were killers/rapists etc I would save the one person.


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Re: The train question - January 7th 2017, 01:18 AM

Ok, so I'd pull the lever, definitely. With no context, I think it's an easy decision, because I feel like inaction is action. By that logic, it kinda makes you a murderer no matter what just because you're there, which sucks. But given extra context, if the one person was family, I'd pass. If the 5 people were terminally ill or death row bound, yeah, I'd pull the lever. One time in class my professor asked this and everyone was super uncomfortable. I said, yeah, I'd pull the lever, and everyone stayed super uncomfortable. Meh.
Ok, for fairies and pirates, I feel almost obliged to say this... It's only 5 people. That's hardly a dent in the population and when it comes to climate change, it really doesn't do a whole lot to help. Instead of allowing people to die (at least like this), we could just use public policy to throw birth control and sex ed around like candy and prevent a ton of births.


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