• ernestm
    1k
    The simple youtube comic book video about the trolley problem, with some others describing variations of the issue:

    https://youtu.be/bOpf6KcWYyw

    and a wikipedia article

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

    Being an Oxford philosopher I regard it as a problem first defined properly as act utilitarianism by Jeremy Bentham, typically stated, historically since the gold rush, as whether a wild west sheriff calling townspeople to catch a criminal is creating a posse or a lynch gang, and whether you would thus join it.

    Modern ethics people are snide about 'classic' definitions, and I am equally snide about them, because they only seem to respect thoughts of living people who are actually trying to make a profit by restating the problem in modern terms for the journals and philosophy lectures. Am I wrong about that?
  • Heiko
    485
    Modern ethics people are snide about 'classic' definitions, and I am equally snide about them, because they only seem to respect thoughts of living people who are actually trying to make a profit by restating the problem in modern terms for the journals and philosophy lectures. Am I wrong about that?ernestm

    Modern times need answers to modern problems. The scope of decisions is different.
    Take the trolley problem: The question in modern times is not about making a singular decision.
    It is about implementing drive assistants. Which philosophical approaches are (legally and philosophical) sound enough to be implemented to be executed rigidly by a machine?
    The question is: may a machine be programmed to always kill the single person?
    A slight deviation: If programming a car - do the inmates count? May a drive-assistant evade a sure collision with a truck and kill a cyclist instead? Does it matter if the driver did something (like driving too fast) that arguably made the situation arise in first place? Does it matter how many inmates in both situations? We need answers saying "Yes, 1101".

    At least one could argue that such applications shed a new light on those problems and hence positions have to revisited. Starting with the question if implementing or enforcing a certain ethical policy or not doing so is in itself ethically sound.

    Reading wikipedia surveys were taken among populations if choosing the track with fewer peoples on it was the way to go. Of what worth is that survey? It seems people were questioned about their own ethical belief, not about the question if machines should execute that belief. This is a fundamental difference. I do not have the impression that "classical" formulations were meant to be put into such a context.

    Woth a look: The "Stop Button Problem"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TYT1QfdfsM&t=6s
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Food for thought:

    1. Quality: There's happiness/suffering.
    2. Quantity: There's amount of suffering/happiness.

    Those who'll pull the lever - killing one to save many - are looking at it quantitatively (2).

    Those who're are in two minds - should I kill one to save many? - are looking at it qualitatively (1).
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    Food for thought:

    1. Quality: There's happiness/suffering.
    2. Quantity: There's amount of suffering/happiness.

    Those who'll pull the lever - killing one to save many - are looking at it quantitatively (2).

    Those who're are in two minds - should I kill one to save many? - are looking at it qualitatively (1).
    Agent Smith

    A little more...

    1. Quality: There’s different kinds of happiness/suffering.
    2. Quantity: There’s different amounts/levels of happiness/suffering.

    It seems to me that the notion that one can make good decisions and be right all the time is based on an arbitrary preference for one of these over the other.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.