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The Trolley Problems Essay

  • Submitted by: wthartline
  • on September 21, 2012
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 870 words

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Below is an essay on "The Trolley Problems" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Trolley Problems
This assignment was to read two articles on The Trolley Problems and write a short paper summarizing the two problems and my responses. Included in this paper are the ethical approaches using the Kantian theory and the Utilitarian theory. The ending will show the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches and reveal which I would prefer to use and why.
The first trolley problem is about a runaway trolley that is on the course to kill five people. I have the ability to save all five of those people by changing the direction in which the trolley is traveling by flipping a switch. In this event, I would have to sacrifice one unsuspecting individual who would be on the course of the new direction the trolley would travel. The second trolley problem is the same trolley with the same situation except instead of changing the course or direction of the trolley I could save all five people if I pushed an unsuspecting individual off a bridge and onto the tracks the trolley is traveling on. This would ensure saving the five but, of course, killing the one individual. My response in the first trolley problem is to flip the switch and save more people. In the second trolley problem case I would do nothing. I would not be able to push someone to their death in order to save others. It seems unfair of me to be able to send someone to their death in the first situation but not the second; however, I would feel more to blame in the second case.
If I was to apply Kantian ethics to the trolley problem I would not even consider how I would feel when making the decision. My feeling should never play a part of an ethical decision (Waller, 2011).   My actions have to stem from duty (of universal law) to be qualified to be considered moral or have moral worth ("philosophy.lander.edu," 2011). The Kantian approach would not be to flip the switch or throw another man over the bridge because it would violate the categorical imperative. The categorical imperative can...

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