January 27, 2018 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm #1457772
You are the conductor of a train and everything seems to be going well until you notice 3 drunken men laying on the tracks up ahead. The train is going too fast to brake and there isn’t anything to do besides one thing, and that is to pull a chord right near him that would cause the train to veer off the regular tracks and head in a different direction.
The only problem is that on the other path there lies 2 more drunken people. What should he do – pull the chord or not?
If he pulls the chord then he will be killing less people but it would be intentionally. Of he doesn’t pull the string then he will be killing more people but it be unintentionally.
Please do not bring any iberchochom answers such as “he should yell out the window and tell them to get up”. The answer is either pull the chord or not. 2 or 3?
This discussion has been an ongoing debate in the psychological world for many years and there is no defininte answer although there are varied opinions. Please voice your opinions in the comments below. Thank you.January 28, 2018 12:01 am at 12:01 am #1457815
I’d use a shorter title. I’d also realize there’s no “chord” that will change the direction of a train, and the guy who controls the train is not the conductor.January 28, 2018 12:01 am at 12:01 am #1457817
I’ll give you a REAL Uber Chacham diká answer –
You shouldn’t do anything, and not only that it is assur to switch tracks – as of now, you are in a position where you aren’t doing anything but have the ability to save three people by killing two, or do nothing. Because of the klall of me amrit ddamich dhai samik tfei; that we cannot say that some people are worth more than others, yo cannot kill two people, even if it would save three (take a look at the minchas chinuch on this).January 28, 2018 12:03 am at 12:03 am #1457818
Are you asking for the halachic answer or for the goyishe answer?January 28, 2018 12:33 am at 12:33 am #1457839
The trolley problem can be conveyed by simply asking “What is your answer to the trolley problem?”. And yehudayona, who but the conductor is in charge of the chords?January 28, 2018 2:18 am at 2:18 am #1457864
Do trains really have such chords? By me, they unfortunately just honk and then kill whoever is in the way.
It’s happened 4 times just this month.
Actually one person survived, baruch Hashem for that person’s survival.January 28, 2018 7:04 am at 7:04 am #1457882
Uber Chacham is correct.
No other answer matters.
The Torah is the guide to what’s right and wrong, and morality.
Any other answer is based on human feelings and biases.January 28, 2018 8:07 am at 8:07 am #1457894
But in this case, since it involves pulling a chord, it’s much more complicated.January 28, 2018 3:14 pm at 3:14 pm #1457991
You do what u think is right at that moment in conjunction with his / her train-ing and leave the rest up to God.January 28, 2018 5:36 pm at 5:36 pm #1458062
In the area of autonomous vehicle design, this actually has practical implications.
From the Wikipedia article on “Trolley problem”:
In 2016, the government of Germany constituted an ethical commission that addressed the implications of autonomous driving. As a result, the commission defined 20 rules for autonomous and connected driving, which will be obligatory for upcoming laws regarding the production of autonomous cars.
The article links to the commission’s report (a downloadable .pdf), which lists their 20 rules. It’s not clear to me whether they addressed this problem, but “rule 9” states:
In the event of unavoidable accident situations, any distinction based on personal features (age, gender, physical or mental constitution) is strictly prohibited. It is also prohibited to offset victims against one another. General programming to reduce the number of personal injuries may be justifiable. Those parties involved in the generation of mobility risks must not sacrifice non-involved parties.January 28, 2018 7:27 pm at 7:27 pm #1458084
“You do what u think is right at that moment in conjunction with his / her training and leave the rest up to God.”- God already told you what to do. If you forgot to read your training manual, or listen to those who did, then its your problem. The reason that it is more complicated over here is that by definition you probably cannot go ask a sheila, so similarly to pekuach nefesh sheilos and when to give up your life you must learn them beforehand and work on yourself until you can do the right thing, even if it means giving up your life, without a second’s thought.January 28, 2018 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #1458108
I’ve seen videos in which parents ask their toddler this question
and the child responds by putting the 1 man on the track with
the others and running them all over.January 28, 2018 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #1458109
Wrong world.February 1, 2018 8:16 pm at 8:16 pm #1461370
the chazon ish holds that one should pull the cord and kill the 2 people for further discussion see sefer mishnas pikuach nefeshFebruary 1, 2018 8:51 pm at 8:51 pm #1461376
According to the shittas that hold that you should take no action and allow three people to be killed rather than taking action that will instead kill a different two people, would they still hold like that if no action resulted in 100 people being killed while taking action to change the path will kill one person (who is not part of the hundred people)?February 2, 2018 12:05 am at 12:05 am #1461399
You do what u think is right at that moment in conjunction with his / her train-ing and leave the rest up to God. End of story!February 2, 2018 12:36 am at 12:36 am #1461411
Takes, if you’re a goy, that’s probably what you’d do.February 2, 2018 7:49 am at 7:49 am #1461416
Takes2, does that change if you know in advance that someone will force you to drive a trolley that day, and that there are bad guys in the neighborhood of this track that would put people on the track?February 2, 2018 8:46 am at 8:46 am #1461456
Shooeey is the only one that got it right.
It’s “cord”, not “chord”February 2, 2018 9:34 am at 9:34 am #1461480
No, the question was about a chord. Those are different things, and it makes more sense for it to be a cord, but it’s a chord.February 15, 2018 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm #1470420
Joseph, why would the principle change because
of the numbers being better than in the first case?February 15, 2018 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm #1470424
Joseph, why would the principle change?
(The number is already better – why would how much better matter?)February 16, 2018 2:23 pm at 2:23 pm #1470761
What would I do?
I would run over the three people then back the train up and run over the other two people and then I got all five!
(we’re talking that the drunkards are from Amalek, right?)
Happy ADAR!February 21, 2018 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #1473799
A kite-flier or fisherman might pull a Cord, but a Conductor controls the Chords – with his baton!
Also let us not forget the old famous line – the Conductor minds the train, but the Melamed trains the mind!February 22, 2018 6:45 pm at 6:45 pm #1475276
Ahhh!!! Talking muffin!!!March 5, 2018 6:29 am at 6:29 am #1480840
(The double post was because I wasn’t seeing my posts go through.)March 5, 2018 8:50 am at 8:50 am #1480877
The little I knowParticipant
One must ask Daas Torah!March 5, 2018 8:50 am at 8:50 am #1480878
Random3x, in principle it shouldn’t change. If the current course will kill two people and it is forbidden to change course to only kill one (different) person, then if the current course will kill 100 people it would seem to be forbidden to change course if that’ll kill 1 (different) person instead of the 100.January 13, 2019 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm #1661528
A- I don’t understand the humor or entertainment here.
B- @yehudayona The conductor is responsible for all movements on the train, by telling the engineer whether to speed up/ slow down.
C- the only way a conductor could switch a track isn’t by a cord, it’s by stopping the train, climbing off, and unlocking/ moving the switch. A dispatcher is in charge of switching tracks remotely. So the joke is on anyone that thinks the conductor can make the decision of who gets killed.January 13, 2019 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm #1661534
The Chazon ish dealt with this. He said to do nothing as you are being passive. My own chiddush is that If we take each life as being infinite value than any number times infinity is the same.January 13, 2019 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #1661627
Mistykins, it’s a cord because it’s supposed to be a trolley, not a train. Just like it’s supposed to be a cord, not a chord.January 14, 2019 2:16 pm at 2:16 pm #1662150
There are a few lectures on this subject with whiteboards and all by Rabbi Akiva Tatz on TorahAnytime.
If the mods would allow, i can post the links.
The names of the lectures are “Living in Two Worlds Successfully – Brooklyn” or “Ohr Somayach Yom Iyun: Moral Dilemmas”.January 15, 2019 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #1663040
Some infinities are greater than others.
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