[quote author=“Riley”] (...snip ...)
#3) The fat man may choose to save the five people walking in front of the run-away train, but he has no obligation to do so, and I don’t have the right to force him to sacrifice himself. Moreover, the 5 people on the tracks must bare some responsibility for their choice to walk on the tracks in the first place.
This was actually discussed, and I think it’s a difficult thing because we really don’t know much about the whole scenario. For example, we could imagine a scenario where there were 5 drunk teenagers being reckless on the tracks, etc. However, I think that might be missing the point. I think the purpose of the train question is not to think of who may be at fault. Rather, I think the questions are supposed to be a simple and detail-free. So, my co-workers and I attempted to approach it as though there was no negligence on the part of the people on the tracks. I’m not sure if this is the best way to approach it, but it certainly made it the most difficult. Because, I agree with your reasoning. However, if you remove responsibility, then I would still come to the kill 1 vs. 5 decision on #2, but have a more difficult time with #3.
#2) The 1 person on the train tracks made the choice to put himself in this danger and must accept the responsibility of his choice to walk on the train tracks. It’s a true dilemma, but in order to serve the most good, I would save the 5 at the expense of the 1. (even if none of the people on the tracks chose to be there, I would still make this choice, but it’s a lot clearer choice to make I think when all involved chose to put themselves at risk)
again, i suppose the questions are far from perfect, but I think adding responsibility by painting the people on the tracks as putting themselves at risk might be missing the point. (although I could be wrong)
Thanks for the response.