An Answer to the Fat Man Quandary aka The Trolley Problem

Survey Monkey just asked for my answer to the Trolley Problem, which is:

“You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up people lying on the tracks. 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, who will be killed. You have two options:

  1. Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
  2. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.

Which is the most ethical option?”

What I told the Monkey: “I know nothing about any of the six people. Not everyone counts equally (one could be a saint, another a nut or a rapist). Lacking this essential information, I choose to go with the fewest number of people killed. I refuse to say “none of my business,” because when I have a choice, it is always my business.”


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