Ethical Dilemmas: The Runaway Trolley Car

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One will face many ethical dilemmas in his or her lifetime. Many try to decide what the right thing to do is based off of their thoughts, their beliefs, and what the particular situation is. However, there is normally not a clear correct answer when it comes to making an ethical decision, or else it would not be a dilemma at all. The classical, theoretical ethical dilemma that many have been asked to decide through the years is the situation of the runaway trolley car. In this scenario, a trolley car is traveling uncontrollably towards helpless individuals. One faces the decision to let the trolley car continue on its current path, killing five people, or to flip a switch which will change the trolley car’s direction and only kill one person (Sokol 269). Faced with this ethical dilemma, there are two different ethical standards that support one’s decision in whether or not he or she flips the switch. The utilitarian approach suggests that one choose the outcome that would do less overall harm and, therefore, do more good (Meyer et al. 276). When applying this particular method of approach to this situation, the ethical decision to be made would be…show more content…
277). By using this approach, the decision made depends on what type of person one is. One may believe that by flipping the switch he or she acted as a hero by saving five lives and only ending one life. However, one may also believe that the trolley car was already on path to kill five people, and by deciding to flip the switch, he or she took a murderous action by choosing to change the trolley car’s direction and kill someone else. When taking the virtues approach to decide what to do in an ethical situation, the decision one believes to be the right action to take depends on the type of person that he or she

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