The Trolley Problem – When Ethics don’t matter

The Trolley Problem is somewhat famous among philosophers. A fat man stands on a bridge, below him, a trolley (that is, a tram or streetcar) is driving towards a group of people, typically about five. The supposed problem is now: Is it ethical to push the fat man from the bridge, into the way of the trolley to stop it and safe the people?

There is a true solution to the problem and it is perfectly simple. But there are lots and lots of false solutions proposed by philsophers that are convoluted, hard to understand and actually deeply meaningless the more you think about it. The idea behind such “solutions” is that you will not be able to disentangle the argument and the one who brought it forth will be perceived as the “winner” of the debate. It’s an intellectual pissing contest and little more. One such was a convoluted argument that boiled down to “you must not instrumentalize a human being”. Well then, go ahead I’d say to the philosopher, jump yourself.

What about the simple solution? Continue reading