What would you do? The fate of the world is in your hands.

haydayhayday

What would you do?



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem


"The trolley problem is a thought experiment in ethics (that is, moral philosophy). The general form of the problem is this:You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise incapacitated) people lying on the main track. You are standing next to a lever that controls a switch. If you pull the lever, the trolley will be redirected onto a side track, and the five people on the main track will be saved. However, there is a single person lying on the side track. You have two options:Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.Which is the more ethical option? Or, more simply: What is the right thing to do?"

Hay

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Bookwoman(7a PA)

What you might do in the abstract, as a thought experiment (perhaps thinking that five lives saved is better than one), is different from what you might do in real life (could you actually pull the switch?)

Does anyone here watch The Good Place? They dealt with the Trolley Problem, hilariously and gruesomely, in one of the episodes.

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bob_cville

I know what I would do. Waffle about what to do until it was far to late to do anything. And then blame and berate myself.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Love, love, love The Good Place. Can't wait to see Season Four!

Not a fan of Foote's thought problem, or Utilitarianism.

#TeamCockroach

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Delilah66

Moral philosophy sounds like a liberal studies class. /s

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

To answer the question posed, I believe in right and wrong, so I cannot allow myself to play God. I know that is a very simplistic answer, but I can do no better.

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt dealt with it too. She sacrificed herself. Spoiler alert.

I have no idea what I would do in the moment. In the moment, I tend to act fast on impulse. (I have a hilarious story about the time I scooped up what I thought was a turd and flung it out of a hot tub at age 12 or so. Or the time I chased down a runaway kite and lost my shoes at age 5–I caught it. Not much thought went into either of those actions.)

So I have never engaged in this thought experiment because I feel that I’m at my best when I give myself over to adrenaline.

(bob_cville your answer was hilarious.)

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blfenton

Love the Good Place as well. Season 4 starts soon and is the last season.

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althea_gw

Pull the lever half way to try to derail it between the two sets of tracks.

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HamiltonGardener

I would pull the switch. I can easily live knowing that I saved 5 lives and have to give up 1.


In the question’s other form (the 1 life is your child), I would let the other 5 die with no hesitation.

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lionheart_gw (USDA Zone 5A, Eastern NY)

I generally agree with HG's response. Of course, there is no right or wrong answer. What if the 5 lives you save are those of violent criminals, and the one life you sacrifice is the person who is on the verge of developing a cure for an intractable disease?

Are we assuming that you can't do something about the first wrong, where the trolley became out of control? It would be best if you could stop or derail the trolley.

All other things being equal, however, I think people will tend to save those with whom they share genes, or likely share genes. There have been a number of studies indicating that people will rescue family members first, even if they are distant family members or only possibly related. It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.

If that one person is my child or grandchild, sorry Fivers.

The problem assumes you have absolutely no knowledge of the people on either track, and that you have little time to devise an alternative. If you're completely blind to any knowledge about them, then you probably should save the most people. You can lament the choice later.

There are probably a handful of misanthropes or psychopaths who would actively choose to kill the 5 and save the 1 (and then be angry that they had to save 1), but I don't know how to account for them.

At any rate, I've already dithered for too long and the 5 people are dead. Problem solved. :)

Now I'm going to read the link to see how wrong I am.

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haydayhayday


Hay

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vgkg Z-7 Va(Z-7)

Pull the lever half way to try to derail it between the two sets of tracks.

That solution came to mind here too Althea, but, assuming that people were on the derailed trolly they might be killed too.

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althea_gw

Vgkg, I checked the picture before posting and it showed the trolley was empty, so I went with that solution.

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Bookwoman(7a PA)

This is not a problem with a particular solution, but a philosophical thought experiment designed to illuminate how, and on what basis, people make ethical decisions.

The trolley problem highlights a fundamental tension between two schools of moral thought. The utilitarian perspective dictates that most appropriate action is the one that achieves the greatest good for the greatest number. Meanwhile, the deontological perspective asserts that certain actions – like killing an innocent person – are just wrong, even if they have good consequences. In both versions of the trolley problem above, utilitarians say you should sacrifice one to save five, while deontologists say you should not.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2016/dec/12/the-trolley-problem-would-you-kill-one-person-to-save-many-others

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bob_cville

> This is not a problem with a particular solution, but a philosophical
thought experiment designed to illuminate how, and on what basis,
people make ethical decisions.

On the other hand all too many real world problems are presented here and elsewhere as a false dichotomy of only two possible choices:

  • Continue to let children be gunned down in their schools or ban all guns entirely, and go door to door and seize them all.
  • Ban all abortions even in cases where the pregnant woman and the fetus will both die otherwise or allow abortions for any reason right up until the moment of birth or even a few minutes after.
  • Block the border entirely or have completely free and open borders with a special government run bus to import drug dealers and criminal in bulk.
  • Continue to insist despite all evidence that the climate is not changing, or ban all cars and cows and industry and live in yurts.
  • Accept the current steady march toward fascism or switch to 100% pure socialism

Usually when presented the one choice is so obviously, ludicrously extreme and unpalatable the the other option, seems, by comparison, a perfectly valid, desirable choice.

So I think althea is on the right track with her thinking-outside-the-box suggestion.

> Pull the lever half way to try to derail it between the two sets of tracks.

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haydayhayday

So much for what your "ethics."

Emotions seem to be the overriding factor in whether something is good or bad.

And Mother Nature has some funny rules when it comes to emotions.

The number one rule for Mother Nature seems to be "protect those most like you".

Should we buy goods from China and help a starving young person from dying? Or insist on buying USA so your son can make big bucks at the local factory.

What if on the 5 person track, they're all 90 years old with one foot in the grave already. And the one person on the other track is your sick baby. Who should get the limited medical resources?

Hay

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don_socal

Cleaning out your computer? I think you posted this years ago.

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HamiltonGardener

Meh.

I still say my kid lives at the expense of the five. I'm good with that.

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althea_gw

"Emotions seem to be the overriding factor in whether something is good or bad."

Hay, you sound like you are knocking emotions. I propose someone without emotions would probably just stand by and watch the group of 5 get mowed down without considering another alternative.

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

Yep, the emotionless person thinks “not my problem” and walks away.

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haydayhayday

"Why don't we just take really bad people that are in jail and practice on them?"


Talking about vaccines and Coronavirus.



What would you do?


Hay

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ubro(2a)

"Why don't we just take really bad people that are in jail and practice on them?"

Talking about vaccines and Coronavirus.


Because we usually don't have a problem getting volunteers on which to practice the vaccines, and doing such a thing is immoral.

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foodonastump

In exchange for reduced sentence?

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Elizabeth

The person lying on the tracks is not tied down, perhaps not incapacitated. Move him and divert the trolley that way.

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Cookie8

"I know what I would do. Waffle about what to do until it was far to late to do anything. And then blame and berate myself."

Me too if I was given a little time. If I was given reaction time scenario, I'd flounder, go to something, feel it's too late and for some reason cover my ears. I have to admit this has been my reaction if one my kids fall just out of arms reach from me so I bet I'd do the same with the train scenario.

I am much better at reacting to a scene situation where "it" has already played out.

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Cookie8

"Why don't we just take really bad people that are in jail and practice on them?"

Absolutely No. It has to be same as the general public in the fact you get x dollars for participating. I say this because I don't always trust the justice system on who they say is guilty. It is too messy and unrealistic to say "this person is for sure guilty, etc, etc". Even then, I don't think it is right.


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haydayhayday

I get the impression that the usual pace of vaccine development according Michael is that first they try the test out on mice. That takes a while.

Meanwhile, 150, 000, (a number out of the air), people might be saved if you could just skip that stage.

You want to volunteer?

Hay

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Cookie8

I would not volunteer for a rushed vaccine no matter how many it would save. Too much chance they got lucky with the small group but wasn't right and wouldn't want to be part of it.

I would only do it if they followed all safety protocols first.


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Olychick

"Why don't we just take really bad people that are in jail and practice on them?"

Because it's unethical and immoral, plus unconstitutional. Nazi Germany, anyone?


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haydayhayday

"Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos (born January 25, 1957), also known as La Bestia ("The Beast") or Tribilín (named after the Disney character "Goofy") is a Colombian rapist and serial killer. In 1999, he admitted to the rape, torture and murder of 138 children and teenagers"

Hay

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haydayhayday

"Child-murderer and rapist, known as "The Monster of the Andes". Targeted young girls, between the ages of eight and 12. Arrested in 1980 and convicted in 1983 of killing three young girls, but claimed to have killed hundreds. Despite being believed to be one of the most prolific serial killers of the twentieth century, he was released in the late 1990s"


Hay

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

What would you do?

Zap a few threads -- save a few lives.

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haydayhayday

Like it or not, someone is going to be having to put their hands on that switch.

Morality? Ethics?

Funny.



Hay

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haydayhayday

We're currently facing with the Coronavirus the equivalent of an invading war force.

In a war the rules change. Generals routinely will make just exactly the kinds of decisions that this thread is all about. They don't debate the ethics or the morality or how awful it would feel.

If they did, they'd never win a war.


Hay

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Ziemia(6a)

For instance "hold the line at all costs" indicates a likely suicide mission.

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haydayhayday


Ziemia:


"For instance "hold the line at all costs" indicates a likely suicide mission."

Good to know.

Just incredible.

Hay

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haydayhayday

The lead line of a tale about Coronavirus.

“As in any war, we have to choose who to treat and who not.”


Like it not, debate the morals all you want, but, like it not, people are being forced to put their hands on the switch, say a prayer and just do it.

Hay

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haydayhayday

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/03/13/opinion/coronavirus-cautionary-tale-italy-dont-do-what-we-did/


"An anesthesiologist at a hospital in Bergamo, one of the cities with the most cases of Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, told the paper that the intensive care unit was already at capacity, and doctors were being forced to start making difficult triage decisions, admitting people who desperately need mechanical ventilation based on age, life expectancy, and other factors. Just like in wartime. The article was inexplicably placed on page 15, while the main headline on the newspaper’s front page relayed the political quarrels over the measures to curb the contagion.

The hospital in Bergamo was not the only hospital in the area dealing with a lack of capacity and rationing of care. The same day, I heard from a manager in the Lombardy health care system, among the most advanced and well-funded in Europe, that he saw anesthesiologists weeping in the hospital hallways because of the choices they are going to have to make."

What would you do? The fate of the world is in your hands.

Hay

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haydayhayday

"Like it not, debate the morals all you want, but, like it not, people are being forced to put their hands on the switch, say a prayer and just do it."

Very ordinary people will be confronted with this for a while.

Hay

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Tilly Teabag

Very good thread, Hay. Relevant at present.

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haydayhayday

The fate of the world is in your hands.

What would you do?

It's a video from the BBC. Showing life in a hospital in the hardest hit part of Italy. There was the usual warning of:

"Warning: This post contains video of acute COVID-19 cases that some people may find distressing to watch."



The fate of the world is in your hands.

Hay


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haydayhayday

The fate of the world is in your hands.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/us/coronavirus-medical-rationing.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

The Hardest Questions Doctors May Face: Who Will Be Saved? Who Won’t?

As coronavirus infections explode in the U.S., hospitals could be forced to make harrowing choices if pushed to the brink. Planning is already underway.

The medical director of the intensive care unit had to choose which patients’ lives would be supported by ventilators and other equipment. Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on Bellevue Hospital in New York City in 2012, and the main generators were about to fail. Dr. Laura Evans would be left with only six power outlets for the unit’s 50 patients.

Hospital officials asked her to decide which ones would get the lifesaving resources. “Laura,” one official said. “We need a list.” After gathering other professionals, Dr. Evans checked off the names of the lucky few.

Now, she and doctors at hospitals across the country may have to make similarly wrenching decisions about rationing on a far bigger scale. Epidemic experts predict an explosive growth in the number of critically ill patients, combined with severe shortages of equipment, supplies, staffing and hospital beds in areas of the U.S. where coronavirus infections are surging, hot spots that include New York, California and Washington State.

Health workers are urging efforts to suppress the outbreak and expand medical capacity so that rationing will be unnecessary. But if forced, they ask, how do they make the least terrible decision? How do they minimize deaths? Who even gets to decide, and how are their choices justified to the public?


Medical providers are considering these questions based on what first occurred in China, where many sick patients were initially turned away from hospitals, and now is unfolding in Italy, where overwhelmed doctors are withholding ventilators from older, sicker adults so they can go to younger, healthier patients.

Choosing between patients “goes against the way we used to think about our profession, against the way we think about our behavior with patients,” said Dr. Marco Metra, chief of cardiology at a hospital in one of Italy’s hardest-hit regions.

In the United States, some guidelines already exist for this grim task. In an effort little known even among doctors, federal grant programs helped hospitals, states and the Veterans Health Administration develop what are essentially rationing plans for a severe pandemic. Now those plans, some of which may be outdated, are being revisited for the coronavirus outbreak.

....

What would you do?

Hay



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maifleur03

Living alone it is easy. I made cremation arrangements last week. There I no need for me to go to the hospital if I have the virus. The bed is better used by someone that might recover. I may change my mind when I start not being able to breath but at that point it is probably too late. If I do not post on my fb page I get a call so my body will not lie here for days.

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foodonastump

I imagine there would be some objective choices to make. I’d treat someone who might live before someone who has no chance. I’d treat a 30 year old mother of young children before a 99 year old mother. That sort of thing. At some point there’d be a coin toss.

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lindsey_9002

Quite a bit long, but for anyone interested in philosophy: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/11/the-trolley-problem-will-tell-you-nothing-useful-about-morality

The trolley problem isn’t as similar to the situation in Italy as much as you think. The patients that end up dying based on the doctor’s decision to save another patient aren’t dying at the hands of the doctor...they’re not dying from the doctor’s action, but rather his/her inaction. Ultimately, the doctor didn’t kill them, the virus killed them. In other words, the doctor not saving them is not the same thing as the doctor killing them.

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maifleur03

However that doctor and other medical staff will live with the knowledge that they were not enough. Expect a high suicide rate from the members of the profession that had to make these decisions and those that could only supply bedside care.

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Ziemia(6a)

War field medics have been doing this right along. It's not s new thing. It's covered in their ethics workshops, etc.

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lindsey_9002

I’m not discounting the fact that they will surely suffer psychologically from having to make the decision in the first place. They’re already feeling the psychological effects right now from being overworked, stressed, having to be away from their family, etc.

I read an article about a doctor in Italy who hasn’t hugged her kids in weeks. She cut her long hair short because it’s one less thing the virus could get on that she could bring home. She contacts her husband before she’s about to get home and tells him to keep the kids away. She walks in the door and immediately throws all her clothes in the wash, takes a 40 minutes shower and wears a mask around her kids at all times just to be safe. Heartbreaking.

They’re already in emotional warfare, adding the decision on who to save is sure to cause inner turmoil that will make someone question all of the decisions they’ve made. I’m not discounting that. They’re the unsung heroes in all of this and they’re basically having to fight this alone without an end in sight. So I’m not discounting that at all, I’m just saying it’s different than the trolley problem.

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haydayhayday

Morality?

Quaint notion?

Hay


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chisue

Might one leap aboard the trolley and halt it? (Only in the movies, eh?)

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jlhug

still say my kid lives at the expense of the five. I'm good with that.


What would you say to the parents, spouses, children of the five that died?

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

What would you say to the parents, spouses, children of the five that died?

———

“I put my kids first and I would expect that anyone else would do the same. I’ll never stop grieving that I had to make that choice.”

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ImWithJoe


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Bookwoman(7a PA)

I usually try to tell my students that while ethics problems are designed to be tough and to clarify basic issues, in real life what you really want is to prevent them from ever occurring. The REAL solution to the trolley problem is keeping villains from tying ppl to the tracks.

https://twitter.com/hilzoy/status/1242228318495223808?s=20

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ImWithJoe


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