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The Trolley Problem. The Trolley Problem.
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The Trolley Problem A trolley is speeding down a track and cannot be stopped. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track. You have the option to flip a switch and lead the trolley down a different track, avoiding the five people. However, the second track has one person tied to it. Should you flip the switch?
The Trolley Problem #2 A trolley is running down a track and cannot be stopped. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track. You are on a bridge where the trolley will pass, and the only way to stop it is to throw something heavy in front of the trolley. The only heavy object around you is a very large man walking standing on the edge of the bridge where there is no railing. So the only way to save the five people is to push the man off of the bridge and in front of the trolley. Should you push him?
Ethics • A set of standards of behavior that tells us how we ought to act in any given situation.
Five Approaches • Utilitarian • Rights • Fairness (Justice) • Common Good • Virtue
The Utilitarian Approach • The morally right course of action in any situation is the one that produces the greatest balance of benefits over harms for everyone affected. • So long as a course of action produces maximum benefits for everyone, utilitarianism does not care whether the benefits are produced by lies, manipulation, or coercion. • The right action is whatever produces “the greatest good for the greatest number.” – Jeremy Bentham
The Utilitarian Test • STEP 1:Identify the alternative actions that are possible and the persons and groups who will be affected by these actions. • STEP 2: For each of the most promising alternatives, determine the benefits and costs to each person or group affected. • STEP 3: Select the action in the current situation that produces the greatest benefits over costs for all affected. • STEP 4: Ask what would happen if the action were a policy for all similar situations.
The Rights Approach • The morally right course of action is one that respects the basic rights of each of the individuals involved. • Actions are wrong to the extent that they violate the rights of individuals. • Negative rights - privacy, life, property. • Welfare rights – health, education. • Immanuel Kant: "Everyone is obligated to act only in ways that respect the human dignity and moral rights of all persons."
The Rights Test • STEP 1:Identify the right being upheld or violated. • STEP 2:Explain why it deserves the status of a right • STEP 3:Ask whether that right conflicts with other rights or with the rights of others
The Fairness Approach • The morally right course of action is one that gives whomever what they deserve. • Equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally. • In evaluating any moral decision, we must ask whether our actions treat all persons equally. If not, we must determine whether the difference in treatment is justified: are the criteria we are using relevant to the situation at hand?
The Fairness Test • STEP 1:What is the distribution? • STEP 2: Is the distribution fair? • STEP 3: If disagreement persists over which outcome is fair or over which criterion for inequality is best in the situation, then select a fair process to decide what is fair.
The Common Good Approach • The morally right course of action is one that is accordance with the common good of society. • Consists primarily of having the social systems, institutions, and environments on which we all depend work in a manner that benefits all people. • Examples: accessible and affordable public health care system, an effective system of public safety and security, peace among the nations of the world, a just legal and political system, etc.
The Common Good Test • STEP 1: Specify what parts of the common good are involved. • STEP 2: Explain why we have obligation to promote or protect the common good. • STEP 3: Does the proposed action conflict with this obligation?
The Virtue Approach • The morally right course of action is one that corresponds to how a wholly virtuous person would act. • The fundamental question of ethics is not "What should I do?" but "What kind of person should I be?" • There are certain ideals, such as excellence or dedication to the common good, toward which we should strive and which allow the full development of our humanity. These ideals are discovered through thoughtful reflection on what we as human beings have the potential to become.
The Virtue Test • STEP 1: Ask if the action will help to make you the kind of person you want to be. • STEP 2: Draw a conclusionActions that fit your idea of what kind of person you want to be are good actions.