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12-02-20 02:39 PM
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Xeogaming Forums - Debate Shrine - Moral Dilemma | |
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Stitch

Mr. Bright
Holy crap, it is the RoboCoonie!








Since: 08-20-04
From: California

Since last post: 647 days
Last activity: 647 days
Posted on 05-03-06 04:30 PM Link | Quote

BRAIN TEASER



From "Brain in a Vat," in issue number 13 of bOING bOING, a quarterly
published in Los Angeles. The scenario was originally posted anonymously
on the Internet.


Consider the following case: A brain in a vat is at the wheel of a runaway trolley
approaching a fork in the track. The brain is hooked up to the trolley in such
a way that the brain can determine which course the trolley will take. There
are only two options: the right side of the fork or the left side. There is no way
to derail or stop the trolley and the brain is aware of this. On the right side of
the track there is a single railroad worker, Jones, who will definitely be killed
if the brain steers the trolley to the right. If Jones lives he will go on to kill five
men for the sake of thirty orphans (one of the five men he will kill is planning
to destroy a bridge that the orphans' bus will be crossing later that night). One
of the orphans who will be killed would have grown up to become a tyrant
who made good, utilitarian men do bad things, another would have become
John Sununu, and a third would have invented the pop-top can.

If the brain in the vat chooses the left side of the track, the trolley will definitely
hit and kill another railman, Leftie, and will hit and destroy ten beating hearts
on the track that would have been transplanted into ten patients at the local
hospital who will die without donor hearts. These are the only hearts available,
and the brain is aware of this. If the railman on the left side of the track lives,
he, too, will kill five men--in fact, the same five that the railman on the right
would kill. However, Leftie will kill the five as an unintended consequence of
saving ten men: he will inadvertently kill the five men as he rushes the ten hearts
to the local hospital for transplantation. A further result of Leftie's act is that the
busload of orphans will be spared. Among the five men killed by Leftie is the
man responsible for putting the brain at the controls of the trolley. If the ten
hearts and Leftie are killed by the trolley, the ten prospective heart-transplant
patients will die and their kidneys will be used to save the lives of twenty
kidney-transplant patients, one of whom will grow up to cure cancer and one
of whom will grow up to be Hitler. There are other kidneys and dialysis
machines available, but the brain does not know this.

Assume that the brain's choice, whatever it turns out to be, will serve as an example
to other brains in vats, and thus the effects of its decision will be amplified. Also
assume that if the brain chooses the right side of the fork, an unjust war free of war
crimes will ensue, whereas if the brain chooses the left fork, a just war fraught with
war crimes will result. Furthermore, there is an intermittently active Cartesian demon
deceiving the brain in such a way that the brain is never sure if it is being deceived.

Question: Ethically speaking, what should the brain do? Justify your answer


Found this on the net. Given the circumstances, I would choose to kill Leftie. But my decision is not at stake here, the main decision is of the brain, that is devoid of emotion to carry out this task and is merely concentrating on reasoning and deduction based on what it knows. Since it has no emotional ties to anything, and can only operate on what it thinks to be right and wrong, what would it choose?

Discuss.


(Last edited by Zabuza on 05-03-06 07:31 PM)
Lord Vulkas Mormonus

Vile
High Xeodent of Xeomerica.








Since: 10-29-04
From: North Carolina, United States. World, Sol System, milky way

Since last post: 1072 days
Last activity: 153 days
Posted on 05-05-06 09:59 AM Link | Quote
Neither. A trolley must have a way to go, and if there is a fork, then unless one option of chosen, it will crash. So, I crash into the middle, making it so that I kill no one.

Otherwise, I would chose left, because then there could be a cure for cancer, wich would save a lot of people.
Stitch

Mr. Bright
Holy crap, it is the RoboCoonie!








Since: 08-20-04
From: California

Since last post: 647 days
Last activity: 647 days
Posted on 05-05-06 05:14 PM Link | Quote
Originally posted by Brain Teaser

There is no way to derail or stop the trolley and the brain is aware of this.


So, yes, you have to pick a path, because the trolley won't crash, won't derail, and must choose a path.

Be it either path, there will be death. But, you did choose a path to cure cancer--and spare the life of Hitler so that he can go on to kill millions of Jews in the Holocaust. Bravo! But, you did help cure cancer.
Lord Vulkas Mormonus

Vile
High Xeodent of Xeomerica.








Since: 10-29-04
From: North Carolina, United States. World, Sol System, milky way

Since last post: 1072 days
Last activity: 153 days
Posted on 05-05-06 06:26 PM Link | Quote
70% of people die of cancer. Hitler didn't even kill 1% of people. The lives saved add up on my side.
Rogue
If you're reading this... You are the Resistance











Since: 08-17-04

Since last post: 2 days
Last activity: 2 days
Posted on 05-05-06 06:43 PM Link | Quote
Which path has the best scenic view?

I'd take out Jones, and then I, the Brain, will flip into reverse, past the fork and then take out Leftie.

My logic: if you're too dumb to not notice a runaway trolley coming your way, blaring horns or whatever I've got, you deserve to be taken out of this equation.

I mean, if people can see V for Vendetta as a serious film where, "Hey let's just side with terrorism" as a provacative thought, then why not just take the easier, more violent path with a somewhat simplistic answer... take out both.
Pockets

Werewolf
pockets








Since: 10-20-04

Since last post: 3640 days
Last activity: 3157 days
Posted on 05-09-06 07:46 PM Link | Quote
I also would take out Leftie in order to save the guy that would cure Cancer. Hitler
would still go on to kill millions of people with his creation of the Nazi party and
the couple of world wars Germany participated in, but, in the long run the
Holocaust and the lives lost have helped to shape the world that we live in today.

For all we know Hitler dieing could have allowed someone else to step in that would
have been ten times worse than anything he accomplished in his lifetime.

*shrugs*

It's a very interesting theory overall.
AlpoRaggins

Troubadour
Not so much dead.








Since: 12-11-04
From: Someday, Somewhere, Over the Rainbow

Since last post: 5162 days
Last activity: 5051 days
Posted on 05-14-06 05:11 PM Link | Quote
We know what would happen if Hitler would come into power; he eventually is stopped. If I have the chance to cure cancer coupled with the fact that history would continue as it did, I think thats the best route to go. Plus, the people with the heart transplants, I'm sure there's accidents that happen during the operation that could potentially kill them, so sacrificing their ten lives plus all the lives taken in the Holocaust for the ability to cure an incurable disease... I dunno, thats what I'd say.
GuardianOni

Shaman








Since: 09-07-04
From: The dark path

Since last post: 4390 days
Last activity: 3849 days
Posted on 05-26-06 01:43 AM Link | Quote
When this problem was presented to my philosophy class it was different. First you were the driver, and not one and one it was one and five. And lastly you had no knowledge of the future of these people.

And my answer is still the same. "Speed up and jump the track in the middle."

The answer is plausible. And it saves most of the people involved.

But should I need to kill someone. I'll run over Jones, and shoot Leftie as I go by.
Elara

Divine Mamkute
Dark Elf Goddess
Chaos Imp
Penguins Fan

Ms. Invisable








Since: 08-15-04
From: Ferelden

Since last post: 273 days
Last activity: 273 days
Posted on 05-26-06 05:52 AM Link | Quote
Kill Leftie. It is better to have a cure for cancer than to save 10 lives. As far as the Hitler issue, as stated above, that just means that we are not altering history. Of course it might have been a better world had World War II never happened, but we will never know now will we?
Stitch

Mr. Bright
Holy crap, it is the RoboCoonie!








Since: 08-20-04
From: California

Since last post: 647 days
Last activity: 647 days
Posted on 05-27-06 04:00 PM Link | Quote
But without WWII, would we have entered into the industrial revolution, or had the baby boom, or our great presidents, or for that matter, be the country we are today (heavily in-debt and hating by all other nations)?
01001000
Slow Ride
Take It Easy









Since: 01-10-05

Since last post: 5076 days
Last activity: 4426 days
Posted on 05-27-06 04:47 PM Link | Quote
I'd just chose the left track.

You get a cure of cancer which saves billions of people for years to come while the neo Hitler will lose the war (assuming he is exactly like Hitler). Wars kill many millions of people, but people die anyways so at least have another war with a cure to spare the lives of billions in the future.
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