Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong

David Edmonds


Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong

Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong

  • Title: Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong
  • Author: David Edmonds
  • ISBN: 9780691154022
  • Page: 440
  • Format: Hardcover



A runaway train is racing toward five men who are tied to the track Unless the train is stopped, it will inevitably kill all five men You are standing on a footbridge looking down on the unfolding disaster However, a fat man, a stranger, is standing next to you if you push him off the bridge, he will topple onto the line and, although he will die, his chunky body willA runaway train is racing toward five men who are tied to the track Unless the train is stopped, it will inevitably kill all five men You are standing on a footbridge looking down on the unfolding disaster However, a fat man, a stranger, is standing next to you if you push him off the bridge, he will topple onto the line and, although he will die, his chunky body will stop the train, saving five lives Would you kill the fat man The question may seem bizarre But it s one variation of a puzzle that has baffled moral philosophers for almost half a century and that recently has come to preoccupy neuroscientists, psychologists, and other thinkers as well In this book, David Edmonds, coauthor of the best selling Wittgenstein s Poker, tells the riveting story of why and how philosophers have struggled with this ethical dilemma, sometimes called the trolley problem In the process, he provides an entertaining and informative tour through the history of moral philosophy Most people feel it s wrong to kill the fat man But why After all, in taking one life you could save five As Edmonds shows, answering the question is far complex and important than it first appears In fact, how we answer it tells us a great deal about right and wrong.


Recent Comments "Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong"

Wow! What a surprisingly good book! Seriously: this book is totally doable for anyone and everyone. I've never read a scientific nonfiction book that was written in such a way as to be so accessible to anyone, even those of us (ahem) without advanced science degrees!Here's the trolley problem that is at the core of this intriguing book: You are standing on a footbridge over a railroad track. There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people [...]

Avendo sposato da tempo il “credo” neopositivista tendo a non apprezzare troppo la filosofia morale e a non interessarmene quanto dovrei. La lettura di questo brillante saggio di David Edmonds, filosofo e radio-divulgatore di filosofia, è stato una buona occasione per correggere il tiro e re-imparare a discutere di etica, come quando ero al liceo e con i compagni di classe dibattevamo di Spinoza e di imperativi kantiani. Una buona occasione non solo per l’argomento in sé, molto stimolant [...]

I'm not a philosophy student and never have been, so I'm approaching this as a member of the general public, and from this perspective it's a well-explained introduction to both trolleyology and to some philosophical history. The scenarios are, naturally, thought-provoking, but what I found most interesting about these thought experiments were the variables affecting the decisions: the effect of the weather, gender, geographical location or even scenario order. The overview wasn't limited to psy [...]

Really enjoyable little book on the trolley problem. I studied this problem several times while working on my philosophy degree but there was a lot in this book I had never come across - interesting variations and most particularly, the history of the problem. I definitely preferred the first half of the book over the second. I had hoped for a little bit more of analysis into some of the psychology of the trolley problem. Though, I suppose this is a philosophy book so I couldn't really expect th [...]

3.5Accessible read for a novice in philosophy. After listening to Philosophize This I wanted to get more into philosophy and the man from the podcast advised by starting to read philosophy books written by scholars that are easy to understand. The book explains the classic example of the trolley case (I remember when Jenny told me about this) and arguments were well laid out to uncover the intentions behind ones decisions, various philosophers take on it and even how in the future hormones will [...]

Certain points of reasoning and arguing can only be fit in specific scenarios while other philosophers would keep bringing new examples or new transformation of the experiment which have too many new factors to be considered. There shouldn't even be any extra conditions. Why does fat guy have to be an entity of such experiment? Why does the other side necessarily have 5 people but not 2, or 1? Different entities/conditions have different sentimental attachment/decision affecting power. Actually, [...]

I'm not much on philosophy - have never really studied it (unless struggling through a little bit of Plato counts). But this book was a fascinating study of human perceptions of right and wrong.The book wraps a discussion of philosophical concepts (most of which I have already forgotten, along with their terms) around a field of study called trolleyology (any British readers, think streetcar/tram, not grocery carts). The study of trolley scenarios (and similar mental exercise) really brings up s [...]

I expected to learn a lot about right and wrong, but instead I learned that moral philosophy is an incredibly complicated game in which there are few solid answers. The book focuses on two famous thought experiments: a runaway trolley is moving down a track to which five people are tied. If you move a lever, you can switch the trolley to a different track where only one person is tied. Would you do it? Would you sacrifice one to save five? Alternatively, the trolley is rolling towards the five p [...]

For 200+ pages, the author visits and revisits the classic philosophical question: "A runaway train is racing toward five men who are tied to the track. Unless the train is stopped, it will inevitably kill all five men. You are standing on a footbridge looking down on the unfolding disaster. However, a fat man, a stranger, is standing next to you: if you push him off the bridge, he will topple onto the line and, although he will die, his chunky body will stop the train, saving five lives. Would [...]

I'm going to buy this book. I really think there's a great deal to think about. The subject is what is sometimes called "trolleyology." The trolley problem is a basic moral quandary. There are many variations. This book reviews the variations, discusses them and has much else to say besides. The author has a lovely light tone that makes it a pleasure to read. I don't suppose it is the deepest consideration of the trolley problem that is out there, but it isn't intended to be. It's for the intere [...]

The first half is great, the second half really goes off the tracks. The second half is an everything but the kitchen sink, who's who of every discipline, parade of names that are barely even trolley-adjacent. The continuity, charm, and historical grounding of the first half is completely lost in later sections, which essentially erase any illusion the reader may have acquired early on that the book had a thesis or was directed at some conclusion. It isn't. It's worth reading for the first half, [...]

I found this book rather dull. I often enjoy non-fiction books, but this was like reading a history book. I was expecting to read about scenarios and then what each possible outcome you had to choose from would mean. Sadly, what I got was the history of the trolley problem and the variations to come from it. The first third of the book is mostly history and a couple short scenarios. It was not what I expected, and I really found the book boring.

As we learn more and more about how people make decisions, we learn more and more about how incongruous the reasons forming the basis of those decisions really are. Why do so few of us contribute small amounts to feed children each month saving their lives, but risk our lives and the expensive clothes we wear to jump in the lake to save one child? Why, in a study conducted at Princeton Theological Seminary, did students at Princeton Theological, sent on a mission to help the poor and homeless by [...]

I found the book to be extremely dull. The author spent more time giving a history on trolleyology than really delving into the issue set at the beginning of the book.

This is not cutting-edge research, but a book that presents the state-of-the-art in a mostly accessible way. I am using it for my class this fall on Ethics and Autonomous Vehicles. I'm glad I selected it. The author tries to give some background to these thought-experiments by telling us something about the lives of some of their originators--especially Philippa Foot. That was interesting to me b/c I knew her and had her for a few seminars when I was a grad student at UCLA. But I don't know how [...]

A trolley is speeding toward five people who are tied to the trolley track, but you can stop the trolley if you push a fat man off of a bridge in front of it. One person would die, but five would be saved. Would you do it? Would You Kill the Fat Man? by David Edmonds is a whole book about this question and variations on it. Reading this book illuminates your own ethical positions while teaching you about the positions of various philosophers. Though the scenarios the philosophers present seem a [...]

I was very pleased with Would You Kill the Fat Man? It is a very accessible overview of various principles of moral philosophy as shown by the trolley problem and its subsequent variations. Part of the problem with philosophy is that it's very easy for the discipline to get bogged down with armchair-type distractions that have little or no meaning for everyday people. Edmonds presented various theories of moral philosophy with the trolley problem, explains them simply, and discusses why their im [...]

It opens as a philosophers' gossip column, which turns out to be as intricate as the European royal family. And mostly dull, except for "[connecting] almost every corner of the love quadrilateral". Then it moves onto the interesting stuff of killing people, in theory and in practice. The theory is the Trolley Problem. The practice is real-life events that closely resemble the Trolley Problem, what people actually did, and how they were judged. For added spice, there are surveys across demographi [...]

This book is talking about different psychology and philosophy problems , and analysis different impacts that would cause by the method you chose.It also talk about the famous train theory , If there is an uncontrollable train coming near by , but there are five people tied on the rail and one people is tied on another rail which side would you choose ? This is all about moral issue. This book contains many kinds of theory that are similar to this, I had gained more knowledge after reading this [...]

First, my answer the author's title question; no.This book covers a lot of ground in short space; it is a nice mini history of moral philosophy. If you like thought experiments you'll probably like this book. For me, thought experiments are too often, too much like trick questions. I prefer thought experiments that are more grounded in reality; Daniel Dennett prefers to call the better thought experiments "intuition pumps".

Un libro sorprendente, filosofia morale spiegata in modo talmente chiaro e accattivante da rendere il libro appassionante come un thriller. Considerazioni sorprendenti su come il nostro "libero arbitrio" non sia poi così libero, e su come le nostre scelte etiche possano essere influenzate non solo da ormoni o danni cerebrali, ma anche da odori, immagini o esperienze concomitanti. Un libro che invita alla discussione e non da risposte univoche, da leggere assolutamente.

I love trolleys problem thats why I read this book. Ethical dilemmas are the main theme of this book, you will need to contemplate and think about why you have such a decision made. But somehow, more often than not, people just fully trusted their intuition as the final resort. We can’t tell it is faulty, can we??

Interesting book about the classic philosophical trolley problem. I thought the part of the book that talked about the difference between "feeling" something is wrong and "thinking" something is wrong was insightful. A bit long for the subject, though.

A very interesting book which looks at the variants of the trolley problem and the philosophies which lie behind the differing approaches to it. As such it servers as an interesting introduction to ethics

Helped me out plenty for my philosophy paper.

Surprisingly enjoyable read. Really tests your critical thinking and judgement.

Nice little intro to ethics via the trolley problem. My degree is in philosophy, but I never got a chance to take a class in ethics. I feel as though this book makes up for that. I'm glad a coworker told me about this book. It's accessible, fun, and thought-provoking without pandering--philosophy for the masses, but not dumbed-down. Brief and easy-to-understand. (The older I get, the more I appreciate authors who can make their point in 200 pages or less.) I thoroughly enjoyed it.This short text [...]

On the positive side, this book is well done. It's somewhat equal parts analysis of the trolley problem, a history of trolleyology, and an investigation of the many factors that can influence our interpretations of the trolley variations. The book includes ten versions of the problem so there are numerous moral valuations to chew on. The history is comprehensive with plenty of biography on the philosophers who developed and influenced the analysis over the years. And the influencing factors are [...]

The trolley problem is Philippa Foot's delicious puzzle from 1967 that presents a person near a train track with a train coming and about to kill five people tied to the track and one tied to a separate spur. Should the person hit the track diversion switch to save the five but kill the one? How does one make that decision? Shouldn't one examine and test the unconscious principles one uses intuitively?The answer is a resounding yes, indeed!, for it is logical to strive for reflective equilibrium [...]

One of my favorite thought experiments. Alluding to it in a Quora discussion on a somewhat bizarre question got me a big chunk of upvotes. That's because the thought experiement matters — software engineers have to think about things like this when they're programming those autonomous vehicles we're all getting excited about (here's a paper at Science, if you want details).Oh, and the New York Times has a positive review of this and the other recent book on the same topic: Clang Went the Troll [...]


  • ☆ Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong || á PDF Read by ✓ David Edmonds
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  • thumbnail Title: ☆ Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong || á PDF Read by ✓ David Edmonds
    Posted by:David Edmonds
    Published :2018-06-17T16:00:00+00:00