The Trolley Problem

Discussion, in general

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby Malfeasinator » Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:27 am

As a fat man, let me just say, good luck trying to push me into something.

I mean, you can try. You can totally try.

I'm probably not going to budge by very much. If I am bigger and stronger than you (in real life, not exaggerated internet terms), and odds are good that I am for most of you, it might be that I pick you up and throw you in front of the train, instead.

"You saved us, random fat guy!"
"Huh?"
"Well, you DID throw that person in front of the train to get it to stop, didn't you?"
"...Riiiiiight."
  • 6

Are you dreaming?
Are you dreaming?
User avatar
Malfeasinator
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 940
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:17 pm
Location: Kentucky
Show rep
Title: You know, just some guy

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby Anglerphobe » Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:06 pm

Malfeasinator wrote:I'm probably not going to budge by very much. If I am bigger and stronger than you (in real life, not exaggerated internet terms), and odds are good that I am for most of you, it might be that I pick you up and throw you in front of the train, instead.


WHAT? How dare you threaten my internet masculinity like that! Meet me IRL and we'll see whose the tough guy on this forum!

Anywhere except the park. I'm not allowed to go there any more.
  • 4

"Tusser, they tell me, when thou wert alive,
Thou, teaching thrift, thyselfe couldst never thrive.
So, like the whetstone, many men are wont
To sharpen others, when themselves are blunt."

Don't you dare go Hollow.
User avatar
Anglerphobe
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 2032
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:03 pm
Show rep
Title: Depressed Goblin Nightmare Man

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby BROWNRECLUSE » Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:48 pm

Break out the memes.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
  • 19

Tesseracts wrote:In this age of falsehoods and lies, it's comforting to know some people are genuinely idiots.
User avatar
BROWNRECLUSE
Jedi Knight
Jedi Knight
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:55 pm
Location: Inside your ear canal
Show rep

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby Malfeasinator » Sun May 01, 2016 1:24 am

Anglerphobe wrote:
Malfeasinator wrote:I'm probably not going to budge by very much. If I am bigger and stronger than you (in real life, not exaggerated internet terms), and odds are good that I am for most of you, it might be that I pick you up and throw you in front of the train, instead.


WHAT? How dare you threaten my internet masculinity like that! Meet me IRL and we'll see whose the tough guy on this forum!

Anywhere except the park. I'm not allowed to go there any more.


Nah, see, I got you. I only said 'most' so you can totally, realistically, count yourself as one of the excluded.
  • 2

Are you dreaming?
Are you dreaming?
User avatar
Malfeasinator
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 940
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:17 pm
Location: Kentucky
Show rep
Title: You know, just some guy

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby IamNotCreepy » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:16 pm

So, a researcher did a (fake) real-life version of the Trolley problem, where they would threaten mice with electric shocks.

In the lab were two cages with red plastic lids and mice inside, an electroshock machine, and a laptop that showed the 20-second timer. When the timer got to zero, the experiment was over. No shocks were ever administered to the animals, but the laptop recorded whether (and when) each participant had pressed the button. Participants would see, in the end, that the button had no effect—but at that point they’d already made their choice.


What was interesting to this experiment is that in the "real-life" situation, people were more likely to choose the utilitarian option and press the button.

About five-sixths of these subjects pressed the actual button, suggesting they were more inclined to make that choice in real life than their fellow subjects were in hypotheticals. Moreover, people’s responses to the 10 trolleyology dilemmas they were given at the start of the experiment—whether they imagined that they’d push the fat man off the bridge and all that—did not meaningfully predict their choices with live mice. Those who had seemed to be more focused on the greater good in the hypotheticals did seem to press the real-life button more quickly, though, and they described themselves as being more comfortable with their decision afterward.


In my opinion, the real-world experiment fails to capture the nuance of the original problem. There is a big difference between choosing whether or not to be responsible for the death of one or more people and giving a little shock to some rodents. I definitely fall more into the "pulling the lever is murder" camp, but I'd probably press the button on the rodents, because the harm you are doing is minimal.

The actual experiment does give some insight into how people may change what they would do in a real situation versus just a thought experiment, but I don't think you can draw any conclusions as to how someone would react in a real life-or-death trolley situation.

Anyway, the purpose of the trolley problem is really to help people examine their own ethical thought processes. Why would you be willing to flip the switch but not push the fat man? What are the different moral implications for all of the variations? More importantly, who keeps tying all these people to the trolley tracks?
  • 6

User avatar
IamNotCreepy
TCS Moderator
TCS Moderator
 
Posts: 1377
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:00 am
Location: Inside the "Cone of Uncertainty"
Show rep
Title: The Yeast of Thought and Mind

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby Malfeasinator » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:26 pm

They finally solved the problem in the show "The Good Place."

They figured out how to murder all 6 people at once.

It's a good show.
  • 4

Are you dreaming?
Are you dreaming?
User avatar
Malfeasinator
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 940
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:17 pm
Location: Kentucky
Show rep
Title: You know, just some guy

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby NathanLoiselle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:05 pm

The answer seems so likely and predictable that I can't believe no one has found it yet. The answer is ... wait, that's the answer? Seriously? Fuck this.
  • 0

User avatar
NathanLoiselle
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3901
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:49 am
Location: You'll Never Know!
Show rep

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby JamishT » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:56 am

IamNotCreepy wrote:There is a big difference between choosing whether or not to be responsible for the death of one or more people and giving a little shock to some rodents. I definitely fall more into the "pulling the lever is murder" camp, but I'd probably press the button on the rodents, because the harm you are doing is minimal.


Have you seen comments on Internet about people accused/convicted of animal cruelty? It's waaaaaay worse than murder to many people. Or to a few and the rest just virtue-signal?
  • 1

JamishT was a heck of a guy,
With a devilish twinkle in his eye.
With his hand-picked flowers,
And his feel-good powers,
He made all the girls blush and sigh.
User avatar
JamishT
TCS ModerBlobber
TCS ModerBlobber
 
Posts: 5232
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:31 pm
Location: KC, MO, AMERICA
Show rep
Title: The Wannabe Adult

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby aviel » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:32 am

IamNotCreepy wrote: I definitely fall more into the "pulling the lever is murder" camp, but I'd probably press the button on the rodents, because the harm you are doing is minimal.

Why does that make a difference?

Also, while we're on this topic, how about that Infinity War, guys?
  • 3

Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
User avatar
aviel
Back-End Admin
Back-End Admin
 
Posts: 9850
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:18 pm
Location: Permanently in the wrong
Show rep
Title: Auditor of Reality

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby IamNotCreepy » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:28 pm

The difference is that the pain of a shock is temporary and unlikely to have any lasting consequences. I am not against utilitarianism, and I think in most cases we should try to reduce harm.

Killing someone is permanent. I don't think utilitarianism could justify the irreparable harm you would cause by choosing to kill someone.
  • 4

User avatar
IamNotCreepy
TCS Moderator
TCS Moderator
 
Posts: 1377
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:00 am
Location: Inside the "Cone of Uncertainty"
Show rep
Title: The Yeast of Thought and Mind

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby aviel » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:57 pm

Why? What's the categorical difference between reparable and irreparable? If the Trolley were just running over people's legs, would that permit pulling the lever?
  • 0

Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
User avatar
aviel
Back-End Admin
Back-End Admin
 
Posts: 9850
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:18 pm
Location: Permanently in the wrong
Show rep
Title: Auditor of Reality

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby NathanLoiselle » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:00 pm

I believe in reincarnation so wouldn't murdering them technically become temporary pain?
  • 1

User avatar
NathanLoiselle
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3901
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:49 am
Location: You'll Never Know!
Show rep

Re: The Trolley Problem

Postby Malfeasinator » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:00 pm

aviel wrote:
IamNotCreepy wrote: I definitely fall more into the "pulling the lever is murder" camp, but I'd probably press the button on the rodents, because the harm you are doing is minimal.

Why does that make a difference?

Also, while we're on this topic, how about that Infinity War, guys?


I think
Spoiler: show
Thanos could have shrunk all the people in the universe to half their original size and made it so their descendants were also permanently shrunk - so there would literally be "half the people", which would use less resources (less food and water for one thing), and nobody would have to die.

Also, I think they're going to use data and experience from the Tesseract, Ultron, and Vision's stone to make an artificial Infinity Stone. Wakandans and Bruce can get it done.

Tony would be like "wah, nobody should have this kind of power" but he'll be stuck on a planet by himself so he won't really have a say in the matter.
  • 1

Are you dreaming?
Are you dreaming?
User avatar
Malfeasinator
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 940
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:17 pm
Location: Kentucky
Show rep
Title: You know, just some guy

Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests