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 No.4039

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We all know the trolley dilemma, but let's add a bit of a twist to it.

Let's assume that the track leading to multiple people, has people that are strangers on it. You have never met these people before and know nothing about them.

The track that is leading to a single person, you do know. Infact, this person is one of your very dear friends, perhaps even your best friend.

Now, just a few weeks before you come to find yourself in front of this lever, you and this friend have, ironically, had a talk about sacrifices. During this talk, your friend told you that they would rather sacrifice themselves, rather than let other people die.

Now, having this information about your friend clearly in your mind, can you pull the lever to switch the track to hit your friend, instead of the strangers?

 No.4043

Well, it's not their choice, so I don't think whether or not they talked about sacrifice matters in this case.

Without knowing who is on the other tracks, then I feel like I would still divert and hit the one person (my friend) rather than the strangers. If I take into consideration all the pain and suffering losing my friend would cause me and his family, and then multiply that by at least 5, then my decision becomes clear. To lessen suffering, it is better for the train to hit one person rather than 5, baring the extremely unlikely chance that every single person on the track was an old homeless person with no friends or family.

 No.4058

>>4039
I know I'm suppose to look past it, but if I change something, and someone gets killed because of it, I would be at fault.  If I do nothing and people die, liability would lie with the people who were responsible for the trolley system death trap.  So I don't go around switching levers on train tracks, to be clear.  

Now I know I'm suppose to pretend that's not the case, doing that I'd probably preference the friend.  As Captain Picard said, "I refuse to let arithmetic decide questions like that," so I guess I'm going with friendship instead.  Now I know, the friend wants to make the sacrifice, but wanting to die, no matter how noble the result is forbidden (mostly), so that can be rendered moot.  I suppose I can come up with other answers, but this is the first that came to mind.

 No.4061

>>4058
>I know I'm suppose to look past it, but if I change something, and someone gets killed because of it, I would be at fault.  If I do nothing and people die, liability would lie with the people who were responsible for the trolley system death trap.
Why do you assign liability like this? That seems really arbitrary. Do you believe that you have no liability in the death of another human if you could have prevented it at no risk to yourself?

 No.4063

>>4061
>Do you believe that you have no liability in the death of another human if you could have prevented it at no risk to yourself?
Yes, if I'd have to mind something that's not my business, interfere with public works, or trespass to save a life, I don't think I can be faulted for letting people die.  People die everyday, why am I not at fault?  I have not become involved in what killed them.

 No.4064

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>>4063
>Yes, if I'd have to ... trespass to save a life, I don't think I can be faulted for letting people die.  
You can't be faulted legally, but ethically, I think it would be desirable (at least in clear situations) to save someone's life even if you have to trespass to do so.

 No.4065

>>4064
Yeah, I guess the trolley problem can be seen to intersect with authorities.  I would have to be assured an authority is not using a trolley to execute humans.  If I interfered with that, I would be bad, humans need their justice.  But if the authority really didn't want people to die, maybe I'd be forgiven for breaking the rules. No, that's not my prerogative, don't put yourself in a position to have to ask forgiveness, with the presumption it will be given.  So, no there will be no saving lives, it's not right, I would be a bad pony.

 No.4066

>>4063
>People die everyday, why am I not at fault?

Because in the vast majority of those situations, you did not have the power to prevent it with no risk to yourself. When you do, you have a moral obligation to prevent it.

 No.4067

>>4066
Suppose I disagree.  A soldier will be expected to follow orders that lead to his death or the death of others, such is diciplile.  The value of rules exceeds the value of life, an extension of the idea that rulers have the prerogative to kill subjects (and I didn't make that up, I have read books where that happens).  Unless I can think of a reason to not be respectful (and perhaps there are a few, but you have to be careful because disrespect means punishment) people must die.

 No.4068

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>>4065
> But if the authority really didn't want people to die, maybe I'd be forgiven for breaking the rules.  ...  So, no there will be no saving lives, it's not right, I would be a bad pony.
It's not even really breaking rules.  There's the doctrine of necessity [1] that justifies what would otherwise be tort or a minor misdemeanor if necessary to achieve a much greater good such as a saving a life.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necessity_%28criminal_law%29

 No.4069

>>4068
Hmm...interesting.  Thank you.  Still seems presumptive to do something based on a defense I may use in court that may allay punishment.  Is it not most respectful to not make the state bring me to court?

 No.4070

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>>4069
The cops aren't going to arrest you for simple trespass if you save the lives of some of your fellow citizens.  If anything, you'd get official praise for saving those people.  

 No.4071

>>4070
Well, I know that authorities are authorities on who are the criminals, and their actions supercede any petsonal understanding I may have of rules or legality.  The evidence you provide is I would not be unjust, and where justice is satisfied, I think a general value for life is good, so I may save the people.

 No.4098

I would not pull the lever, and i actually think there's a decent argument for it. This person is very dear to me, and they have demonstrated they are a selfless person. This is a person who will make the world a better place, barring any glaring personality flaws that have not been mentioned. I don't know these strangers, their value is only that of generic lives, which, while being good to save, is also not as valuable to me as a confirmed good person. One might be a boss that gropes their subordinates, one might beat their pets, one might be emotionally abusive. I certainly don't know that this is the case, but i haven't personally verified that these are people worth saving. I have done that with my friend.

 No.4103

>>4098
While I get the point you are trying to make here, I must disagree with it. It kind of hurts me to think that those peoples lives are worth less, somehow, than a friend, just because they may have done some bad thing. I have to take a quote from Trigun here and say the future is always open. Someone always has the opportunity to change.

But I suppose this doesn't matter, as the question was about if you would pull the lever, and if that is your answer, well then that's that.

 No.4108

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>>4098
> a confirmed good person.
Most people aren't completely good or completely bad.  Most are a shade of gray.  I guess you could try to measure whether someone is a net contributer to society or a net burden on society.

>One might be a boss that gropes their subordinates, ... i haven't personally verified that these are people worth saving
Just because someone gropes his subordinates doesn't mean that he isn't "worth saving".  I'd rather have a competent boss who gropes me but also advances my career than an incompetent boss who causes my projects to fail.

>>4103
>It kind of hurts me to think that those peoples lives are worth less, somehow, than a friend, just because they may have done some bad thing.
Well, for me, a friend's life is worth more than a stranger's.  Like, if I read a random obituary in the newspaper, I wouldn't really feel much sense of loss that some stranger died.  But if a friend died, I would feel a strong sense of loss.

 No.4113

>>4108
Isn't it kind of self-centered and unempathetic to say that people you don't know personally are worth less?

 No.4114

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>>4113
>Isn't it kind of self-centered
I am evaluating their worth from my perspective.  So of course that could be considered "self-centered".  Like, if I really like chocolate ice cream and hate strawberry ice cream, then chocolate ice cream would be worth more to me than strawberry ice cream.

>>4113
>and unempathetic
I am not sure how empathy is supposed to come into play here.  And I am fairly certain that a vast majority of peoole would value a friend's life over the life of a random stranger.

 No.4115

>>4114
>>4114
>I am fairly certain that a vast majority of peoole would value a friend's life over the life of a random stranger.

That's kind of why this moral question exists. If people agreed to just save their friend, it wouldn't be a moral conundrum. For the record, I don't agree. I don't assign one person's life more value over another's just because I am familiar with that person.

 No.4119

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>>4115
>That's kind of why this moral question exists. If people agreed to just save their friend, it wouldn't be a moral conundrum.
Oh, I thought the only thing that would make it difficult was the "your friend told you that they would rather sacrifice themselves, rather than let other people die" part.

>>4115
> I don't assign one person's life more value over another's just because I am familiar with that person.
Friendship is more than just familiarity.

 No.4120

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>>4115
And I doubt that you actually value a friend's life no more than a stranger's.  Let's consider another trolley-type example.  A good friend of yours is tied to the railway tracks, and so is a stranger.  You only have time to save one before the trolley comes and runs them over.  If your friend is begging you to save him, would you reject his plea and save the stranger's life instead?

 No.4125

>>4119
No, this issue is also the fact that you are weighing 5 lives against one.

It's more than familiarity, but you are still giving one live more value than another based on your own perspective. Nothing gives your friend's live more inherent value over the strangers except for your friendship. Your friend could be a drug addict while the "stranger" a famous surgeon. It's a selfish way to decide who lives and dies. I do not take the fact that lives have been put in my hands lightly.

>>4120
I'd imagine they would both be begging me to save them, so that's irrelevant. Not knowing anything about the stranger or who he is or what he does, I'd have to weigh which friend it is on that track versus what I can deduce at a glance about the stranger. this will result in a bias toward the friend, since I know them more intimately, but the decision is not based on their friendship with me. It's what I know about person A being weighed against what I know about person B. Person A just has the advantage because I know them better.

 No.4126

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>>4125
>No, this issue is also the fact that you are weighing 5 lives against one.
Oh yeah, that too.  I'm sure there is some number n such that I'd choose to save n random strangers over a friend.

> Nothing gives your friend's live more inherent value over the strangers except for your friendship.
What is "inherent value"?  I was talking about the friend's value to me.  I'm not sure it makes sense to talk about value apart from someone who is doing the valuing.  People say things like "gold has inherent value" and "Bitcoin has no inherent value", but that really just means that gold has some value to many people other than its acceptance as a medium of trade and that Bitcoin has no value to most people other than its acceptance as a medium of trade.

>Your friend could be a drug addict while the "stranger" a famous surgeon.
Yeah, I'd save the surgeon in that case.  I doubt a drug addict would remain a friend of mine for long anyway.

>>4125
>but the decision is not based on their friendship with me.
How do you see the nature of friendship?  Aren't friends supposed to treat each other specially and have some loyalty to each other?

 No.4131

While I don't mind the conversation turning naturally, as it has, I would like to focus a bit again on the question that was the op. And I kind of thought about editing, but at this point I'm not sure that's a good idea.

But knowing that your friend would be -ok- with giving their life, and this being the major focus of the dilemma, could you pull the lever and, basically, sacrifice your friend to save these other five people? Does knowing the one person, in this scenario, and knowing their wishes, make it any less hard to pull the lever?

 No.4136

>>4126
Someone's value to you shouldn't be the deciding factor on whether they live or die. That's kind of a terrible way of thinking. There are millions and millions of people with absolutely no "value" to me. I still do not wish them to die, nor would I sacrifice their lives.

>I doubt a drug addict would remain a friend of mine for long anyway.

That's completely missing the point. Your friend could be an unemployed gamer or whatever. The point is, your friend may not benefit society as much as the "stranger" does, and your friend may not have as many people who would mourn their lose as the "stranger" does. There's other factors to weigh besides "who does more for me."

>Aren't friends supposed to treat each other specially and have some loyalty to each other?

That doesn't mean that their lives are worth more. I am being put in a position where I choose who lives and who dies. I'm not going to arbitrarily choose my friend because they are my friend. And if my friend is OK with self-sacrifice, they would understand that idea. That sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. That's not to say I'd NEVER choose my friend, and indeed, my friend has an unfair advantage if it's him versus one person. But him versus 5 people? Yeah, that's not a decision I would just make lightly.

 No.4138

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>>4131
>But knowing that your friend would be -ok- with giving their life, and this being the major focus of the dilemma, could you pull the lever and, basically, sacrifice your friend to save these other five people?
Probably not, unless I was a railroad employee responsible for switch.  As a mere bystander, I would have a hard time taking responsibility for altering fate like that.

>Does knowing the one person, in this scenario, and knowing their wishes, make it any less hard to pull the lever?
Yes.  But not enough though that I would do it if I was just a random bystander.

>>4136
>Someone's value to you shouldn't be the deciding factor on whether they live or die.
Well, what if I have to take an action to save anybody (e.g., if there was a burning building and I could either save a friend or a random stranger)?  If I choose a random stranger instead of my friend, then I wouldn't be a very good friend, would I?  A parent should choose to save their own children instead of a random stranger's children.  In fact, if they don't, they could even be punished by the law!

>That's kind of a terrible way of thinking.
Why do you say that my way of thinking is terrible?

>There are millions and millions of people with absolutely no "value" to me.
Really?  You don't value their lives at all?  There are some people to whom I would assign zero or negative value (e.g., active violent criminals) but most people I would value positively at least somewhat.

>>4136
>There's other factors to weigh besides "who does more for me."
I don't value people only for what they can do for me.  It's possible that I could value a particularly talented stranger more than a friend.  But neither do I put zero value on a friend's friendship with me.

>>4136
>That doesn't mean that their lives are worth more.
But it is another reason for choosing to save your friend over choosing to save a random stranger.

 No.4164

My friend lives. End of story. No sequel. In a different circumstance, I would probably even pull the lever to hit the other people if it saved my friend.


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