Index  Comments

The ``trolley problem'' is an artificial problem of ethics in which one must decide between inaction and intervention, in which inaction causes five deaths and intervention causes one. In general, the person questioned is given none of the five individuals' physical characteristics, marking this as a loaded-question and philosophical sophistry. The question may as will be if you would rather kill a man or rape him, with inaction not being an option. The purpose of this being to distort thought by using a model of reality which is contrived.

I'm of the opinion that there are perhaps three main characteristics which guide human action; I may be lacking some:

A person can choose to use reasoning with some set of rules and axioms, follow instinctual patterns, or make a decision based on an event which is at least believed to be random, such as the dice roll.

Feeling no attachment to the contrived scenario, I feel no particular reason to act any way, and I'd gladly make the decision randomly, such as with a coin flip. My random decision is arguably amoral, freeing me from the need to make a decision about a scenario I care naught about. The value of this random decision making seems undervalued in current society, with instinct reigning instead.

It's more interesting to consider the scenario which is less contrived, in which the characteristics of some or all of the individuals are known; this permits splitting the decision between an in-group and an out-group and so becomes a table.

If the in-group is on both tracks, then it may be reasonable to kill the one to save the others. In the two cases of there being an out-group, it seems obvious to act to eliminate it, complicated by a mixed grouping, but not by much. In the remaining case of two out-groups, either option is fine, in using any vindictiveness to decide whether to intervene or not.