A train is racing toward five men, tied to the track. Unless the train is stopped, it will inevitably kill all five men.
If a fat man is pushed onto the line, although he will die, his body will stop the train, saving five lives. Would you kill the fat man?
As David Edmonds shows, answering the question is far more complex, and important, than it first appears. In fact, how we answer it tells us a great deal about right and wrong.
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Excellent intro to Meta-ethics and philosophy
I teach a course on ethics to third year medical students. I majored in philosophy as an undergrad before becoming a physician. I try to get them to search for the basic principles on which they base their decisions, especially with regard to such controversial topics as physician assisted suicide, abortion, complex triage choices, and allocation of medical resources. I have used the "Trolley Case" for many years to force them to think at a deeper level.
This book is a splendid introduction to the "Trolley Case" and to the whole question of duty ethics versus utilitarian ethics, with fascinating excursions into the concepts of virtue, the role of neuroscience, and whether morality is learned or innate.
The narrator has just the right amount of whimsey in his voice to capture the humor of the author. Highly recommended to anyone interested in this important topic.
Wonderfully Rendered Book...