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Forums > Social Discussion > some philosophical questions

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Mascot


Mascot

enthusiast


Total posts: 301
Posted:These questions are open and of course there are no right answers. Bear in mind that these questions are philosophical exercises, not real world problems. You must choose from the options given, this is not a lateral thinking exercise (no worming your way out with secret option C).



Question 1

There is a train careering out of control. You stand in the switch room and can send it either down a track on which 5 people are trapped (killing them all) or down a track on which one person is trapped (killing him). What do you do?



Question 2

There is a train running out of control towards and will kill 5 people trapped on the rails, but you are near a switch and could divert it into a siding. Unfortunately there is someone trapped in the siding and you would kill him by pulling the switch. What do you do?



Question 3

There is a mine cart running out of control down the rails towards 5 people who will all die. In front of the rails a man looks on helplessly, and you realize that you could push him onto the rails and he would stop the mine cart though he himself would die. What do you do?



Question 4

You are a doctor in a hospital, and you have 5 dying patients in desperate need of transplants. Another patient walks into the hospital with a broken finger. After anesthetizing him you realize that this man is blood type O negative and you could harvest his organs and save your 5 dying transplant patients, all of whom would survive with no further complications. What do you do?



At one point you probably said yes and at another you probably said no. Where did that happen and what changed?



EDITED after Diogenes post

EDITED_BY: Mascot (1210755922)


Walls may have ears but they don't have eyes

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natasqi


natasqi

addict
Location: Perth

Total posts: 489
Posted: Written by :Poje


3. If the cart is too far away from the 5 that they dont see me then i'd push the guy in front and tell reporters that he selflessly jumped infront of the mine cart to save the 5.





Hmm, I think my morals/actions are changed by what people think of me. I agree with Poje on #3. If no one saw, then yes, I would push him and say he sacrificed himself.

The doctor one, there's no way to talk yourself out of it, you need documentation etc etc etc.

If I was the last person on Earth, I was a surgeon who had enough experience to do 5 transplants at the same time (HAHAHAHA).. or rather, had cloned myself with future technology, and in amongst the rumble of the world ending, i found 6 other people... 5 who needed organs, and 1 person who conveniently exactly matched these people, and if I had future technology that made sure that these people would live...
So yes in this situation...
But then I'd have to think about why the world ended, and whether humans are an evil species and we should die out...




Hows this for a situation!! You're a surgeon, the world is going to end. You and six people are put in a bunker. All six other people are unconscious.
You have been given the job of saving the world by reviving 5 people with some special enzyme in #6's blood.
you were told before you accepted that #6 was clinically brain dead.

So you accepted, knowing that #6 was dead, and you're just using his blood to revive the others.

BUT!!! after the world above you goes boom and it's time to revive the others (specially hand picked to start the human race again... one scientist, one, something etc etc, 2 females, 3 males (you're female now..))
Your special medical machiny thing shows person #6 has brain function!

*GASP*

So, everyone who said before they couldn't actively kill someone... What would you do now?


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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted: Written by :natasqi



But hypothetically, one person dying is still better.. and he is MALE. :P



If he's hot and you kill him, that's wasteful and immoral.

:deadpan:


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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natasqi


natasqi

addict
Location: Perth

Total posts: 489
Posted:lol, all during this I wanted to say "if one of them was hot, it might be a different story"

And what if that person #6 was my partner.... hmmmm.. I don't think I could kill him. I think the human race would have to die out...
Evolution can start again for all I care :P


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jo_rhymes
SILVER Member since Apr 2005

jo_rhymes

Momma Bear
Location: Telford, Shrops

Total posts: 4525
Posted:These questions are all based on 6 individuals who we can control who dies and who lives.



i wonder if, in 'real life' anyone considers the effect their actions have and what effect that has on people's lives, or our own lives.



for example, my grandad had a bad heart, his doctor told him to run up and down the stairs 15 times a day. My grandad did it once and he had a heart attack and died.



The doctors failed to give my mum the correct blood test results, 6 months later she was in hospital with heart palpitations and so much thyroxine in her blood she should have been dead, as a result she needed her thyroid out.



there's so many instances we overlook, where we give people advice, or don't 'do our job properly' and it can have fatal effects.



I'm pretty sure no one, at least on this forum anyway, would intend to kill or harm others, but I wonder what effects are actions (or lack of) have, in the long run.

EDITED_BY: jo_rhymes (1210840144)


Hoppers are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:I can shave feet...I'll sharpen up a clamshell.

I'm sure there's scenarios out there where we would all resort to murder. For instance, there's some guy pointing an RPG at an elementary school and you have a gun in your pocket. Now what ?

That's really the crux of these questions, to determine the moral/ethical threshold when we would actively engage in murder for the greater good. I'm selfish, so I was thinking about my own interests when I said no to scenarios 3 and 4 ( really 1 and 2 are no brainers ) The interesting difference between 3 and 4 is that 3 is an impulse decision. Presumably, there's only a second or two to decide how to act, while in 4 there's time to think before cranking up the gas and terminating broken finger guy.


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hamamelis
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

hamamelis

nut.
Location: Bouncing off the walls.

Total posts: 756
Posted:I look at it as -in 1 and I think 2, 6 people are all in a dangerous position (all on the rails ahead of a runaway train..), so deciding that the majority should live is simple, though none of the twits should have been on the track in the first place..

In 3, the 6th person is not in danger at all in the start scenario, they're standing near a dangerous situation, same as me. At this point, you're taking the descision to kill someone who was not putting themselves at risk. Besides.. you could be wrong- it might not stop it.

Number 4 is also simple, transplants are *not* guaranteed, so killing 1 healthy person for 5 people, who may have got a transplant from elsewhere, and still may not recover..? Nah.

But yeah, like almost everyone has said, if the single person was someone I really cared about, I very much doubt I'd be prepared to let then die for strangers, regardless of what Mr. Brain says now.


THE MEEK WILL INHERIT THE EARTH!


If that's okay with you?

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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:Stout, there is a very important distinction between self defense (or defense of another person) and murder. You should not 'defend' one persons death by sending another innocent to theirs.

But you can bet given the right circumstances I would harm or kill another human being.


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

Warning: Please Do Not Jump On The Seals

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Lurch..do you figure the scenario in #3 might qualify as defense of another person even if the person who ends up dead was technically, innocent ?

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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:No, you're supposed to be stopping/killing the threat, not some innocent bystander to make the threat stop. You would probably get cut down to simply manslaughter instead of murder, but same difference in the end. One of the defenses is basically the 'lesser of two evils'.

If you want to be right by the law though don't push people in front of trains wink


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

Warning: Please Do Not Jump On The Seals

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:I didn't figure it would be.

From a moral perspective, I wouldn't push the guy in 3 in front of the train, which is to say I'd let the other five die. I figure my conscience would get a workout either way, but directly causing the death of an innocent is more of a burden to carry than simple inactivity based on what could be described as inactivity. ie, I could tell myself that I was thinking about what to do when while the instant for action passed me by.

Unless of course, that innocent was David Caruso...then, things might be different. wink


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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:The way I look at it it's not up to me. If the guy I would push is the only guy in a position to 'stop' the train, than it's up to him to sacrifice himself. If I was in his position I wouldn't want someone making that decision for me and shoving me from behind. And if I was one of the 5 at the end of the track I probably wouldn't want some random innocent to kill themselves for my sake.

#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

Warning: Please Do Not Jump On The Seals

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