Five or One?

Some of us think far more than we should
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Ariannda Kusanagi
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Ariannda Kusanagi » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:42 pm

See this is where my mind allows me to wander through the choices, and i have enough issues with BOTH solutions to not be able to choose a clear answer... for example

In the first situation: So there's 5 hikers, versus one hiker. Morally I can't allow either situation to occur ? How do i know those people, how can i make a call as to if it's better to kill one or 5, and more so what of the people on the train ? Isn't there a conductor if not passengers ? aren't they all going to be hurt or die as well ? How can I possibly decide. If it was my own live or die situation that forced me to make a choice then I choose the one for the chain reaction thats more likely to occue, the train is less likely to derail from hitting 1 person then from plowing over 5, thus saving more then the original number to begin with. However i'd rather sacrifice myself to save all of the above.

As far as situation number 2 goes : what of the patients with the failing organs ? will they have an extended quality of life if they receive their transplants ? Or will they die with in the next 6 months anyway from more advanced medical complications that caused their organs to fail in the first place ? How old are the patients ? So on and so forth. I'm afraid that you can't sacrifice one healthy person to have 5 dying people. Thats basic medical triage. The ones who are goners are made as comfortable as possible and left to let nature take it's course, while those that are more likely able to be saved , are. thats my medical standpoint on that one... save the one, let nature take it's course

situation 3: I save my child, period, no if's and's or but's. My child is born of my flesh and blood and my love for my child knows no bounds, even to self sacrifice. I'd rather my child lose me, then to lose my child. However i'd save my child then try to save the other person as well.

thats just my stand point.
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Alluveal » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:42 pm

1. I save the 5.
2. I would not kill the one for his organs.

Both are choices. You have lives in your hands in both scenarios. If you take no action in the first, you can see the train, it's coming, 5 will die. Absolutely, I would save the 5. Considering that the situation is just "one person" and "five people," I'm not going to assume they are children or adults or old people. If the Five were old people, should I try to save the One if he/she was younger? Those elements haven't been brought in, though I imagine the dynamics would change drastically if specifics were given.

The second one means the willing and systematic murder of a man who is not in danger otherwise. All of the parties in the first scenario were walking on a railroad track. They know a railroad goes along the track. There is a chance that a train will come along. They have actively taken that chance. They have chosen to walk along a track and into possible danger.

First Scenario--pick someone to die. Pick now.
Second scenario--Random dude walks in and you jump him for his organs, or 5 patients who were probably on the lists for a long arse time die. Organ transplants don't always jive 100%. They may live longer. People fight this stuff sometimes and outlive their expected demise. Two trains coming at ya . . . a little more sense of urgency here, imho.

The man walking into a hospital doesn't go in knowing he might be attacked, strapped to a chair and murdered for his body parts (barring some freak incident that isn't even brought into the equation.)

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Revenant_Blues » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:13 pm

i) Observation of a random evolving situation does not impart the observer with divine foresight to accurately know all outcomes. Observation of any given scenario yet to occur is neither a true harbinger of absolute fate nor inescapable outcome. Should I light a smoke, open a bag of trailmix and ease my rucksack to the forest floor afore the show begins, I would have killed no one-- should the proverbial speeding locomotive dirt dart five hikers before my eyes. Life births us thespian brained mammalians into a world of chaotic chance. To presuppose divine intervention as an inherent trait of our existence is simply an emotional character flaw begging to be answered with years of unecessary guilt over what could have been; I prefer the Greek Tragedy.

ii) Star Trek taught us that the needs of the many outway the needs of the few (poor Spock). If society followed Gene Roddenberry's philosophy, collapsed it would be. I'm a doctor in this scenario? Take my heart sick folk, and divide it amongst you five ways ... for I am the embodiment of aesculapian meaning. Oh wait, I earn six figures plus HMO/PPO percentages ... better call up the local funeral home and order five caskets to go. In actuality, in this scenario, I either have a nervous breakdown over the unfairness of the world, commit a murder to save one out of five, or call it a day at 5, drive home and kiss my wife and next day face the same or worse.

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Alluveal » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:19 pm

Damn, who let Yoda on the board.

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Xtizu » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:40 pm

1: i yell at the people to get off the track, then walk away with a clean consience

2: 5 strangers that need organs to live? put em on the list along with anyone else.
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Taxious » Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:05 pm

Weird, listen to this song while staring at the animated GIF in Xtizu's signature. I couldn't stop watching it for some reason. Maybe it's just because this has been the longest week ever...
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Xtizu » Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:36 pm

try kelis - my milkshake
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Ddrak » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:20 pm

For the serious answers on the thread, it's interesting that people are trying a *lot* harder to find a loophole in the second proposition than the first.

Oh, and I thought Revenant_Blues answer was awesome!

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Select » Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:21 pm

I thought he/she/it was trying too hard to be eloquent and just ended up more wordy than myself. The same references and opinions could easily be expressed in a simpler format without the Yoda-babble.
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Alluveal » Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:26 pm

Ddrak wrote:For the serious answers on the thread, it's interesting that people are trying a *lot* harder to find a loophole in the second proposition than the first.
Well, the first one is more straightforward. BAM make a decision. The second one . . . requires more explanation in order to separate the two.

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Ddrak » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:53 am

Alluveal wrote:Well, the first one is more straightforward. BAM make a decision. The second one . . . requires more explanation in order to separate the two.
Nah - they're both straightforward questions, and even framed as an either/or position. It's essentially looking for the tipping point of when a person would act to save the lives of 5 people if it meant the death of another. The fact people are looking for excuses not to kill the person walking in despite the question being framed to absolutely save the others (ie no rejection, no "only live 6 months" etc.) just shows how difficult it truly is from a moral point of view.

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Alluveal » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:53 am

I don't think they are straightforward. One is urgent. The other you have more room to think. Straightforward--Pick a track now. The other has other factors involved, including method of killing the one dude, if it's the right thing to do, if the "needs of the many truly do outweigh the needs of the few in ALL cases." The first, I don't know, without more specifics, it's just 1 VS 5. The second one is more complex. If you were to say "ok the 5 are old senior citizens and the one is a baby," that would make it far more complex, imho.

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Ariannda Kusanagi » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:05 pm

Actually Allu then it'd be easier, as the adults organs wouldn't fit in a child and vice versus. Both are bad examples where as some I've seen are much more complex. there's too many variables to either given situation to allow a rational answer. And I still stick with my thought and point, I'd save the others and throw myself in front of the train, the same as I'd save my child and try to save the other person as well.
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Alluveal » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:34 pm

I was talking about the first one having more specifics (train track.)

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Ariannda Kusanagi » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:46 pm

anyone have any others ? I tried google but it left me with a lot of theories instead =D
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Klast Brell » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:09 am

When I first encountered this one they had a few more. Only other one I can remember was an escalation of the train situation.

In the first example they ask if you would switch the track so it hit the man instead. In the more extreme example they place you on an overpass next to the man. There is only one track. Would you push the man off the overpass to be run over by the train, knowing that this would cause the conductor to apply the emergency brake and stop the train before it hit the family?
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Fallakin Kuvari » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:55 am

I'm sticking with Natural Selection for both.
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Ariannda Kusanagi » Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:48 am

No i'd push the man off the tracks
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Re: Five or One?

Post by Alluveal » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:50 pm

There was a philosophical debate I had posted to me in undergrad:

A child is drowning.

Scenario 1: The child's father jumps in to save the child.
Scenario 2: Stranger on the shore doesn't jump in at first, but when he sees a news helicopter, he jumps in and saves the child.
Scenario 3: A man in a wheelchair (stranger to the child) cannot jump in, but desperately wants to, even though the child is not his. But, is unable to do anything.

Who is the "better" (the word "pure" has been used) of the three?


In the end, the answer came down to whether or not you believed more in intention than in action/results.

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Re: Five or One?

Post by Fallakin Kuvari » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:38 pm

The Father wins, guy 2 is a douchebag that just wants his 15 minutes and the guy in the wheelchair is some cripple that should've been a victim of natural selection already but modern medicine saved his sorry ass.
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