Author Topic: Trolley Problem  (Read 1018 times)

Offline TerrorDæmonum

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2022, 05:55:50 PM »
The problem can be rewritten as:
  • Is it morally permissible to do an evil act to prevent another evil act?
  • Are multiple lives more valuable than a single life?
For the first, it is not permissible to commit a sin. For the second, one could discuss the gravity of that, and one would generally conclude that multiple lives would be more grave than one, but this on its own is of limited use, because the problem is designed to provoke more than this judgement.

Removing the trolley and giving a firearm and saying "if you don't kill this one person, I'll kill those five people" makes this easy: it is not permissible to kill in this circumstance. In fact, it is not permissible to do any evil.

The sin is within the person:

Quote from: Catechism of Pius X
5 Q. What is actual sin?
A. Actual sin is that which man, after coming to the use of reason, commits of his own free will.

6 Q. How many kinds of actual sin are there?
A. There are two kinds of actual sin: mortal and venial.

7 Q. What is mortal sin?
A. Mortal sin is a transgression of the divine Law by which we seriously fail in our duties towards God, towards our neighbour, or towards ourselves.

10 Q. Besides grave matter, what is required to constitute a mortal sin?
A. To constitute a mortal sin, besides grave matter there is also required full consciousness of the gravity of the matter, along with the deliberate will to commit the sin.

The use of death as the example is intended to cloud judgement by making it a matter of emotion, but the worst sins are the most dangerous and often difficult to appreciate.

There are treatments of double effect and mental reservations which can be significant in some circumstances, but in general, morality is far more straightforward.

Redirecting the trolley is thus evil if done to kill another, but good if intended to save others. Furthermore, doing nothing is good if done for a good reason, and evil if done for an evil reason. There is no single answer, because it is a hypothetical and morality requires judgement of the particular circumstances and the scenario is contrived and does not exemplify any single moral principle well: one can interpret it in different ways.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2022, 05:57:25 PM by TerrorDæmonum »
And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. Luke 17:1

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.  For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. 1 Timonthy 6:3-10
 
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Offline AlNg

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2022, 08:50:37 PM »


I'm not murdering a person, I'm diverting a trolley and defending the lives of five people. The death of the one person is an unintended but foreseen consequence. But, moral actions aren't based on consequences.
Suppose that you knew that the one person on the other track was your 6 year old daughter. Would you still do the moral thing (i.e., what you say is the right thing to do)  and protect the 5 possible criminals on the track by diverting the train to murder your daughter? I doubt you would. 
 

Offline Justin Martyr

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2022, 08:56:32 PM »


I'm not murdering a person, I'm diverting a trolley and defending the lives of five people. The death of the one person is an unintended but foreseen consequence. But, moral actions aren't based on consequences.
Suppose that you knew that the one person on the other track was your 6 year old daughter. Would you still do the moral thing (i.e., what you say is the right thing to do)  and protect the 5 possible criminals on the track by diverting the train to murder your daughter? I doubt you would.

It would be immoral in this case because I'm more bound morally to protect my children than I am my neighbor. Therefore, if it were heading toward my daughter it'd be moral to change the trolley to the track with the other five (provided the other conditions of double effect).
One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. The daughters saw her, and declared her most blessed: the queens and concubines, and they praised her. Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?
The Canticle of Canticles, 6:8-9
 
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Offline andy

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2022, 08:57:13 PM »
I do not think any of those options is sinful.

If I had some time to decide and more information about the situation, I personally would save person or group I know somehow.  Or perhaps let die those I knew are in the state of grace.

In case there is no enough time to make an educated decision, I would probably let things take their own course of action.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2022, 10:46:31 PM by andy »
 

Offline AlNg

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2022, 09:08:09 PM »


A violation of the Fifth Commandment cannot be imputed on someone who had no intention of violating it, even self-defense. Again, this is a matter of interior intention and deliberate human acts.

It is not a matter of self defense. You have no knowledge of who or why these persons are on the RR tracks. As far as you know, the 5 people on the tracks could be criminals and the one person could be your 6 year old daughter. You do not know. You do not have sufficient knowledge to act reasonably, responsibly, and prudently. By pulling the lever you are acting rashly. We are called to act according to the virtue of prudence and not to make rash judgements or rash decisions. You know there is a life at stake here and by pulling the lever, after giving only a moment of reflection,  you are choosing to kill that person. I don't see where you have the right or the authority to make such a rash and imprudent decision. I could be wrong, but it looks to me like you might be committing a mortal sin against the virtue of prudence by killing a person without knowing all the circumstances involved in this. By that I mean it looks like grave matter, but acting on the spur of the moment may lessen your personal responsibility to some extent. Maybe. 
« Last Edit: April 20, 2022, 10:22:07 PM by AlNg »
 
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Offline TerrorDæmonum

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2022, 10:44:56 PM »
It is not a matter of self defense.

I did not say it was. The moral principle that was relevant to this topic was within the post on the morality of self-defense.

Quote
You do not have sufficient knowledge to act reasonably, responsibly, and prudently. By pulling the lever you are acting rashly. We are called to act according to the virtue of prudence and not to make rash judgements or rash decisions.
This is a hypothetical situation with little utility, as I explained earlier. Stop treating it as if it is real, as I wrote:

Redirecting the trolley is thus evil if done to kill another, but good if intended to save others. Furthermore, doing nothing is good if done for a good reason, and evil if done for an evil reason. There is no single answer, because it is a hypothetical and morality requires judgement of the particular circumstances and the scenario is contrived and does not exemplify any single moral principle well: one can interpret it in different ways.

Quote
I don't see where you have the right or the authority to make such a rash and imprudent decision. I could be wrong,
Yes, you frequently are confused and wrong on matters of moral theology. You should be careful when posting about it. There is no need to muddle the topic when someone wants a simple answer.

Quote
but it looks to me like you might be committing a mortal sin against the virtue of prudence by killing a person without knowing all the circumstances involved in this. By that I mean it looks like grave matter, but acting on the spur of the moment may lessen your personal responsibility to some extent. Maybe. 
Why would you post speculations and uncertainty on a thread asking a question? Would it not be prudent to make your own thread for questions, rather than posting speculative incomplete answers to a question someone else asked?
And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. Luke 17:1

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.  For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. 1 Timonthy 6:3-10
 

Offline AlNg

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2022, 11:12:40 PM »
It is not a matter of self defense.

I did not say it was.
You brought up the issue of self defense on this thread.
 

Offline TerrorDæmonum

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2022, 11:17:23 PM »
I did not say it was.
You brought up the issue of self defense on this thread.

I wrote this:

A violation of the Fifth Commandment cannot be imputed on someone who had no intention of violating it, even self-defense. Again, this is a matter of interior intention and deliberate human acts.

It was not an invitation to latch onto the words and making any association one wished. I wrote what I did deliberately. It is not a list of words for one to associate as one wishes. Stop doing this.

I could have referenced capital punishment in the same way: it is a matter of the Fifth Commandment where the same general principle applies.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2022, 11:20:15 PM by TerrorDæmonum »
And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. Luke 17:1

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.  For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. 1 Timonthy 6:3-10
 

Offline AlNg

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2022, 11:22:48 PM »
It is not a matter of self defense.
I did not say it was.
You brought up the issue of self defense on this thread.

I wrote this:

A violation of the Fifth Commandment cannot be imputed on someone who had no intention of violating it, even self-defense. Again, this is a matter of interior intention and deliberate human acts.

It was not an invitation to latch onto the words and making any association one wished. I wrote what I did deliberately. It is not a list of words for one to associate as one wishes. Stop doing this.
You brought up the question of self defense deliberately. If self defense is irrelevant to the topic at hand, you were wrong to bring it up deliberately. If self defense is relevant to the topic at hand, I was right to comment on the issue.
 

Offline TerrorDæmonum

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2022, 11:43:24 PM »
You brought up the question of self defense deliberately. If self defense is irrelevant to the topic at hand, you were wrong to bring it up deliberately. If self defense is relevant to the topic at hand, I was right to comment on the issue.

Don't quibble. It is relevant inasmuch it was a matter of the Fifth Commandment and the moral theology involved was relevant to this topic.
And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. Luke 17:1

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.  For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. 1 Timonthy 6:3-10
 

Offline AlNg

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2022, 11:47:39 PM »
You brought up the question of self defense deliberately. If self defense is irrelevant to the topic at hand, you were wrong to bring it up deliberately. If self defense is relevant to the topic at hand, I was right to comment on the issue.

Don't quibble. It is relevant inasmuch it was a matter of the Fifth Commandment and the moral theology involved was relevant to this topic.
Are you a hypocrite or what? You quibble about the fact that I mentioned self defense, and now you accuse me of quibbling. Is it a mortal sin to go around slandering people who post here?
 

Offline TerrorDæmonum

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2022, 11:53:31 PM »
Are you a hypocrite or what?
Or what.

Quote
You quibble about the fact that I mentioned self defense, and now you accuse me of quibbling. Is it a mortal sin to go around slandering people who post here?

Being quarrelsome is a sin and it is a serious matter. Do not falsely accuse me. Do not accuse me of doing what you do.

Do not abuse moral theology to troll me or other Catholics.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2022, 11:59:30 PM by TerrorDæmonum »
And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. Luke 17:1

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.  For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. 1 Timonthy 6:3-10
 

Offline Greg

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2022, 01:34:46 AM »
Kill all 6.  Blame the Russians or Climate Change.
 
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Offline Greg

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Re: Trolley Problem
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2022, 01:43:36 AM »

Growing up makes us weak.
 
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Offline TerrorDæmonum

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Shame On You
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2022, 02:11:58 AM »
A serious question from a young person on a moral question gets:
You people should be ashamed of yourselves. This is supposed to be a traditional Catholic forum. Someone joins this forum seeking answers, and you people who should know better forge ahead with inanity and insanity without care.

This is a very inactive forum and this is how you people chose to abuse it.

When it comes to rules and morality, personal opinions and speculations don't matter. It is a matter of science, of knowledge. Dogmatic and moral theology should guide everything on matters of faith and morality. The rest is discerning circumstances for the application of those teachings.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2022, 02:18:22 AM by TerrorDæmonum »
And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. Luke 17:1

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.  For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. 1 Timonthy 6:3-10
 
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