The Switch And Footbridge Analysis

1506 Words7 Pages
Every moment in our life we must make decisions – some of lesser or of greater importance. For many of these decisions, personal ethics and our moral code are involved. However, sometimes what distinguishes something to be moral or not is subjective, or not clear-cut. A good example of this is the hypothetical trolley scenarios. The Switch and Footbridge versions of the trolley problem are different but both present the choice to save five people and kill one, or kill five people and save one. In both cases, a trolley is going down a railway, and on its way there are five people tied to the rails, trapped. In order to stop it in switch case you can pull switch and put trolley on different path with one person tied up there. In the footbridge…show more content…
I will use the consequentialism point of view to justify that the two cases have similar intentions and final results, however a different approach in execution. In other words, the intention of the person doing the action and making the choice is to push the fat man on the rails to stop the trolley or pull the switch and direct it to a different path. In both cases there is a choice to save five lives or one, and in both cases you are the deciding factor of the potential outcome. Judith Thomson in her work dedicated to the trolley problem states that “If a person is faced with a choice between doing something here and now to five, by the doing of which he will kill them, and doing something else here and now to one, by the doing of which he will kill only the one, then (other things being equal) he ought to choose the second alternative rather than the first.” I consider that most people would follow that…show more content…
In my perspective, the situations are killing one versus killing five. The footbridge scenario is a personal and intentional murdering, while on the other hand, the switch scenario is impersonal as you pull the switch and the death of the person is considered a side effect. Nevertheless, the final results of each case will be same, specifically in regard to the count of humans who lived and humans who died. Personally, I think that if you would pull the switch I would feel that the death of the man was not a side effect but also an intentional killing as the result of that action was clear. I agree that you had a good intention of saving five lives, however, people who would pull the switch have more than one good intention, and this does not guarantee that deeply in their minds they did not have another intention to kill that person. At the end, yes, the death of one can be considered as a side effect, but is it? In the switch scenario, there are two intentions to kill one person and save five people. In other words, in this case you have the main priority of saving five people and you are ready to save them, but you are aware that to reach this goal, you must let one be killed to save five. Therefore the pull of the switch is the same for me as personally killing the person, not directly by your hands, however this action carries both “bad” – let one die, and “good” – saving
Open Document