The Pros And Cons Of The Trolley Problem

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Trolley problem, initiated by Philippa Foot, is a situation in which there is a runaway trolley and the only way to save five people on the tracks is to sacrifice one person (Kvalnes, 2015). There are many versions of the trolley problem with regard to how the one should be sacrificed, make trade-offs in order for five persons to be saved. In this paper, there are two trolley case used to compare with the autonomous car case. The first case, called the switch case, come from Philippa Foot (1967), in which there is a third person who are standing next to a signal switch. He can control the trolley which is running with a high speed down a side track by turning the switch. By doing so, he can save five people, but result in one person who is tied to the track in another direction to be killed. The other case, called the fat man case, introduced by Thomson (1985), is about pushing a fat man from a footbridge, who is substantial enough to stop the trolley. Then, the fat man gets killed. To deal with these dilemmas, utilitarianism and duty ethics theories should be taken into account. For a utilitarian decision maker, who will attempt to maximize the sum of utility for all concerned (Kvalnes, 2015), the third person should pull the switch or push the fat man to reduce the killings from five persons to one person; that is, keeping the number of people died to a minimum. In contrast, in duty ethics perspectives, there are moral considerations more important than
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