27 votes

Absurd Trolley Problems

12 comments

  1. [2]
    gco
    Link
    I found it interesting that the numbers were significantly different between the choice to kill 1 vs 4 people to save 5. I approached it from a purely utilitarian perspective and answered the same...

    I found it interesting that the numbers were significantly different between the choice to kill 1 vs 4 people to save 5. I approached it from a purely utilitarian perspective and answered the same since both 1 and 4 are less than 5.

    6 votes
    1. Loire
      Link Parent
      It's often forgotten that one must consider their own responsibility during the action of sacrificing a set of people, otherwise the trolley problem isn't a problem. Theoretically, regardless of...

      It's often forgotten that one must consider their own responsibility during the action of sacrificing a set of people, otherwise the trolley problem isn't a problem. Theoretically, regardless of the arithmetic, you are not responsible for the trolleys natural path and thus are not responsible for the deaths of the five on the main track. By pulling the lever you are taking responsibility for the trolley's direction and thus are actively choosing to consign a human to death.

      For me, when the ratio is 1 to 5, the responsibility is worth it. When it's 4 to 5 now my conscience is weighing the responsibility of actively choosing to kill 4 people.

      5 votes
  2. [3]
    RNG
    (edited )
    Link
    That was a lot of fun! Kill count was 86 lol I think this little exercise shows the absurdity of trying to construct or follow a consistent normative ethical framework. It seems to me that "moral...

    That was a lot of fun! Kill count was 86 lol

    I think this little exercise shows the absurdity of trying to construct or follow a consistent normative ethical framework. It seems to me that "moral reasoning" is nothing more than a category of emotion just like anxiety or happiness, yet our language fails to provide us the tools to engage with this emotion in an authentic way.

    What's strange to me is that normative ethical theories are often "disproven" not by deriving some sort of contradiction, but by showing that it leads to uncomfortable conclusions; conclusions that the audience doesn't emotionally like. Well, maybe they're not necessarily disproven, but at a minimum the theory's proponents are given work to do to properly account for the uncomfortable conclusion to find one the audience is happier with. But, crucially, this isn't how facts work. This isn't how truth seeking works. If there are moral facts and not just moral emotions, then you'd expect people to conclude that utility monsters might actually morally deserve more resources or that you should kill one patient to give organs to the 5.

    I'd love to know what the author themselves thought about ethics.

    6 votes
  3. [2]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    That was fun, and got increasingly more interesting with every new choice. Thanks for sharing! p.s. I got a bit stumped by level 17's "A trolley is heading towards a mystery box with a 50% chance...

    That was fun, and got increasingly more interesting with every new choice. Thanks for sharing!

    p.s. I got a bit stumped by level 17's "A trolley is heading towards a mystery box with a 50% chance of containing two people. You can pull the lever to divert it to the other track, hitting a mystery box with a 10% chance of 10 people instead. What do you do?"

    Congratulations, you have now solved philosophy! :P

    4 votes
    1. GoingMerry
      Link Parent
      The mathematical expected value is the same for both, but i chose 10% because the absolute chance of no deaths all

      The mathematical expected value is the same for both, but i chose 10% because the absolute chance of no deaths all

      5 votes
  4. lou
    Link
    I tried to answer quickly because since the trolley is moving I wouldn't have time for deep thinking. I killed 59 people.

    I tried to answer quickly because since the trolley is moving I wouldn't have time for deep thinking. I killed 59 people.

    3 votes
  5. tomf
    (edited )
    Link
    I killed 85. if you’re on the straight track, I believe it’s your destiny to die if the only other option is another human. I also saved my life savings, but did question it for a second. the...

    I killed 85. if you’re on the straight track, I believe it’s your destiny to die if the only other option is another human.

    I also saved my life savings, but did question it for a second. the speaking fees alone for being the one who gave it all up to save lives would most like more than compensate you if you play your cards right.

    the Mona Lisa can go for all I care, though.

    2 votes
  6. Merry
    Link
    I think for the most part, I tried to save everyone I could. I ended up with 50 people killed though at the end.

    I think for the most part, I tried to save everyone I could. I ended up with 50 people killed though at the end.

    2 votes
  7. [2]
    Rez
    Link
    I ended up at 41 dead, I wonder what the lower limit is.

    I ended up at 41 dead, I wonder what the lower limit is.

    1 vote
    1. Diff
      Link Parent
      I went through again and always chose the option with fewer deaths or destructions, unless it's nondeterministic the lower limit appears to be 29. EDIT: Looks like the 50%/10% question does...

      I went through again and always chose the option with fewer deaths or destructions, unless it's nondeterministic the lower limit appears to be 29.

      EDIT: Looks like the 50%/10% question does actually pick a random number to determine if the mystery box contains the people it says it might.

      3 votes