Thread: Fun with ethics
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Old 17th February 2009, 06:38 PM
His Noodly Appendage His Noodly Appendage is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 99
Default Fun with ethics

Let's start off with my favourite pair of ethical dilemmas...


A runaway train is speeding down the track, and is about to collide with six railway workers doing maintenance on the track. You don't have time or the means to warn them, but right in front of you is the switch to divert the line. If you pull the switch, the train will go down the other track... where one worker is standing. If you do nothing, six will die, if you act, only one will - a net saving of five lives. The one, however, would have survived had you done nothing.

Is it right to pull the switch?


At a hospital, after a terrible storm. The roads are undrivable and the phone lines are down. A tree fell on the building next door, and seven people have been brought in. Six of them have ghastly injuries, each with a different vital organ destroyed, and none are expected to live out the night. The seventh has miraculously escaped all injury except being knocked unconscious - and will be out for the next twelve hours by the look of things. However, by sheer billions-to-one freakish chance, it turns out that he is exactly tissue-compatible with the other six. If you were to organ-harvest the survivor, he would die, but the other six would all survive.

Is it right to go ahead with the transplant?

Do your answers to the two questions differ?

If so, then on what basis?
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