The Trolley Problem

1420 Words6 Pages
1 Explain the Trolley Driver, Bystander at the Switch, Fat Man, Transplant, & Hospital scenarios discussed in the "The Trolley Problem" reading. In doing so, address what the ethical issue(s) are in each of these scenarios. The trolley problem can be expanded to discuss a number of related ethical dilemmas, all referring to the conflicts inherent in utilitarianism and consequentialist ethics. The problem with the trolley driver scenario is that the driver is faced with a choice of whether to infringe on the rights of one man (the man on the tracks) or whether to allow the trolley to crash, thereby killing the five people on board. The driver is stuck between two equally unfortunate situations, and the issue calls into question whether it is more ethical to save five lives than it is to refrain from infringing on the life on an innocent man. Inherent to the problem is the fact that it is impossible to know whether the diversion of the trolley will in fact save the five lives. In the alternative scenario involving the Bystander at the Switch, the actor in question is not the driver but a person who has the ability to pull the lever that will divert the trolley towards one workman, versus the five workmen that will be killed if no action is taken. The dilemma is only slightly different from the original involving the onus on the driver. Either way points to the fundamental ethic of killing one to save five, and whether to do so would be the ethical choice. The difference
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