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View Poll Results: Which is the morally correct option?
It is right to kill the one for the five in both situations, but I could not push the fat man 49 44.55%
It is right to kill the one for the five, and I could push the fat man (psychopath) 41 37.27%
It is not right to kill the one for the five in either situation 20 18.18%
Voters: 110. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-26-2012, 01:58 AM   #241
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Yes I would. Remember,

"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few" Jesus


Not if he's really fat.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:16 AM   #242
RealUnrealRob
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Cognitively, I don't believe in any fixed moral laws, so it would be better to lose 1 over 5 by most standards.

But realistically, I couldn't actually push someone into a train.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:57 AM   #243
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gonzaw, I've wasted way too much of my day on this discussion when I was supposed to be doing homework and now I'm writing a report at two in the morning. Would you mind giving me an abridged version? Something like. "This is what I think, which you appear to disagree. This is why I think this." Frankly, I don't think we're disagreeing on a whole lot, and I think you're misunderstanding some of my points. The discussions get bigger every time one of us replies and I'm utterly failing to get all my work done.
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:01 AM   #244
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This is hardly a psycopath test but, rather, a how-much-of-a-utilitarian-are-you-and-to-what-lengths-you-will-go-to-to-implement-your-ideology test...If you fully embrace utilitarianism, then your dedication to the ideal will transcend any fear or regret of pushing the fat guy...
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:33 AM   #245
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If you're going to label the second option psychopath, then you should label the first option as coward.
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:52 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
gonzaw, I've wasted way too much of my day on this discussion when I was supposed to be doing homework and now I'm writing a report at two in the morning. Would you mind giving me an abridged version? Something like. "This is what I think, which you appear to disagree. This is why I think this." Frankly, I don't think we're disagreeing on a whole lot, and I think you're misunderstanding some of my points. The discussions get bigger every time one of us replies and I'm utterly failing to get all my work done.


Okay, tldr:

There aren't "simple" active decisions (actions or inactions) that you can easily label as moral or immoral.
Like "murder is immoral" or "not saving 4 choking babies when you have the power is immoral" or "not pushing the fat guy onto the train to save 5 people is immoral".
Each action is done by a certain actor, in a certain situation/context, and all of that matters to determine the morality of that decision.
Aspects of the actor should be taken into account (intent for instance, and also what things affect his mind at that moment like I stated before, etc), as well as the context (which, coupled to the state of the actors mind makes him make the respective choice).
I think in both the baby example and the train example this should be taken into account.
It should also be taken into account in those "it's the same as choking/killing the baby/5 people yourself" situations, since again, those aren't that "simple".

So basically I disagree with your "ignoring the people/babies is evil, as evil as violently murdering them yourselves" point, and the whole stance on responsibility/morality respecting actions/inactions that you seem to have (with that kind of statements you post).
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:43 AM   #247
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzaw
Okay, tldr:

There aren't "simple" active decisions (actions or inactions) that you can easily label as moral or immoral.
Like "murder is immoral" or "not saving 4 choking babies when you have the power is immoral" or "not pushing the fat guy onto the train to save 5 people is immoral".
Each action is done by a certain actor, in a certain situation/context, and all of that matters to determine the morality of that decision.
Aspects of the actor should be taken into account (intent for instance, and also what things affect his mind at that moment like I stated before, etc), as well as the context (which, coupled to the state of the actors mind makes him make the respective choice).
I think in both the baby example and the train example this should be taken into account.
It should also be taken into account in those "it's the same as choking/killing the baby/5 people yourself" situations, since again, those aren't that "simple".

So basically I disagree with your "ignoring the people/babies is evil, as evil as violently murdering them yourselves" point, and the whole stance on responsibility/morality respecting actions/inactions that you seem to have (with that kind of statements you post).


Thanks. I hate to undermine your long response, but I'm really supposed to be awake in about 4 hours.

See the things is, I most certainly am taking other things into consideration. If I wasn't taking details of the circumstance into consideration, then I would simply say "Murder is wrong. Don't flip the switch." But since I have taken into consideration things like, the ability to save other people, and why exactly this man is being killed, I come to a different conclusion. Also, when I first brought up the baby analogy where I was talking about somebody leaving their child in the care of a baby sitter, I intentionally made the situation has simple as possible. Why? Because I know and understand that the details change the situation. I specified that whatever it is that killed the baby (in most of our examples, a Lego brick), it was something that the babysitter witnessed and could have easily prevented. I declared it was evil for the babysitter to let this happen. If the situation had more (or different) details, such as, maybe the caretaker's life being at risk, or such as the caretaker not actually witnessing the incident to stop it, then I wouldn't be so quick to say that it's wrong. I've been demonstrating through the whole thread that these details matter to me. When I say something like "failing to save the baby is just as bad as killing it yourself," this statement implies that there are no extra details complicating the situation. I'm sorry if that needs to be said straight out for you to follow along with it, but come. Normally, if somebody says "murder is immoral," you can just agree, man. You don't have to say "murder is immoral.... exceeeept in this circumstance and this one and this one." Its already implied for you. Sorry, I'm rambling now. Moving on.

"it's the same as choking/killing the baby/5 people yourself"
I still stand by this. I've taken everything into consideration. These thought experiments were intentionally simple to have as few things to consider as possible, and these few things considered.... yes, I find the statement true.

Surely you must understand by now that I am considering the details, because otherwise I would say that flipping the switch is wrong because murder is bad. So... maybe you don't agree that not preventing a death (specifically, one you can easily stop) is as bad murder... but what detail is it exactly that's leading you to think that failing to to save FIVE people isn't as bad as ONE murder? There really aren't that many details to consider here... I know some people are saying this isn't about numbers because life is priceless (maybe it wasn't you, I don't recall) and that's a nonsense argument that again ignores details. Choosing the option of not flipping the switch is still making the argument that murder is at least five times as immoral as neglecting to save somebody.

EDIT: I don't know what the bystander effect is. I presume that's describes a situation where somebody decides not to perform a good deed because they think somebody else is bound to do it anyway? Perhaps I'm way off, but if that's the case... I still say everybody that neglects to act is responsible for failing to prevent five deaths.
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Last edited by Macabre_Turtle : 11-26-2012 at 04:45 AM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:46 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by metal4eva_22
If you're going to label the second option psychopath, then you should label the first option as coward.


It's just labeled that way because of the video, man. No need to be a dick.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:42 PM   #249
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It takes a "force" to make you do an action, while inaction doesn't require one.
Inaction doesn't necessarily require thought or decision, but action does most of the time (when you are not acting instinctively/routinely/accidentally/etc).
You don't decide to do an inaction most of the time. For instance right now you are doing a million inactions, most of which you are not even deciding about.

For example, you may wonder about whether you should get up your chair to get a snack or just get it later. You decide to not get up, so your inaction to get up is your decision.
However you also didn't start loudly singing, that's another inaction.
Did you decide to not loudly sing? No, it didn't even cross your mind, even if it was an inaction.
If you start to loudly sing though, could it happen from a lack of decision? Unless you have some broken stuff in your brain most likely no, it must have come from a decision.


Based just on that I can't say that inaction to do the opposite of X is the same as action to do X in a general sense as you are saying.
If inaction and action were just 2 black and white options then yes there would practically be no difference between them.
If they are B&W and someone gives you the "simple" situation of "Flip a switch to kill 1 person or don't flip it to kill 5", then it's basically the same as being in the situation of "Flip 1 switch to kill 1 people, flip another switch to kill 5 people, and you have to flip one or the other", at least in terms of the decision that must be made and its outcome.

But again reality doesn't work like that, so in reality I don't equate both of them even if in this "hypothetical" scenario they would.
But again if in this hypothetical scenario you assume inaction and action are black and white choices, then why analyze it in the first place? Just analyze the "Flip 2 switches, one to kill 1 guy and one to kill 5 guys" scenario instead.
In any other scenario rooted in reality however that's not true a priori, not even in your "babysitter doesn't save the baby from being choked" scenario; since again inaction and action are not black and white, specially not in anybody's brain when they are in those situations.
There can be a situation where that babysitter not saving the baby is immoral, and maybe a situation where it isn't. Again there's no "simple" situation and if you start creating hypothetical scenarios to make them "simple" then you can analyze them all you want but it's pointless since the abstraction doesn't represent reality.

You may analyze them to determine what someone is "ought" to do in a similar situation, in an "ideal" way, but not to determine the morality of the action a person in that situation did, and in that case it'd just be a guide and not a "set in stone" metaphysical rule.


Also numbers don't make a choice more "moral" just because.
Also specially not in someone's mind.
If you tell someone "Flip the switch or X people will die!" in a rush he won't really care if you tell him 5 or 11 people will die, at least not immediately (i.e before trying to think and analyze the situation) since at that point it's just a number in his head and he didn't conceptualize it to what it really means. If he did then great, we are in this "extraordinary hypothetical scenario"; but most likely it won't happen in real life.

Kind of how people ignore numbers in newspaper and a "Tornado killed 9 people" news is the same as a "Tornado killed 1000 people" one.
In the newspaper case you'd think it'd be "moral" to be more concerned about the 1000 dead guys news instead of the 9 dead guys one, and you'd say "Oh, someone that doesn't immediately think the 1000 dead people story is worse are immoral!", and we are in the exact same discussion as now.
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