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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2014 David Edmonds (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By smarmer on 09-10-14

Excellent intro to Meta-ethics and philosophy

Any additional comments?

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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Douglas on 01-25-14

Wonderfully Rendered Book...

on the complexity of moral decisions and how rationality--and to a surprising degree--emotion play roles in our everyday ethics. I teach a class based in Theories Of Morality, and my classes discuss such questions on a daily basis, including the one that gives this book its title. Since Kohlberg and Gilligan began their search for a testable rubric for morality (both included gender as a factor in moral decisions), ethics scientists have struggled to define what a "moral act" is and how exactly we arrive at the decisions we make when ethics are at stake. Edmonds does a fine job here of furthering the debate and clarifying many of its ongoing issues. This book would go very well with John Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis (the title has a lot to do with ethics and how we decide, so the title is a bit misleading) & his second book The Righteous Mind--I highly recommend both be take with Would You Kill The Fat Man.

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Mark on 01-14-15

I got it right off

What made the experience of listening to Would You Kill the Fat Man? the most enjoyable?

the first half was interesting, the rest of it was a bit repetitive

Any additional comments?

This book was a bit of a one trick pony.....the premise was interesting but it seemed to drag and repeat

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Maxine on 07-23-15

Thought provoking and interesting

Would you listen to Would You Kill the Fat Man? again? Why?

I would listen again. Though it would have been useful to have included a download booklet. However it was interesting and not at all dry considering the subject matter of ethical decision making.

Have you listened to any of Gareth Armstrong’s other performances? How does this one compare?


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The cold decision making process re: bombings in the war.

Any additional comments?

If you are interested in ethics and want a lighter overview I think you will enjoy this audiobook as I did.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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