Killing vs. Letting Die: Trolley Problem

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant Pages: 4 (1585 words) Published: November 13, 2012
Killing and Letting Die
To discuss the trolley problem critically and the relative outside views|


The trolley problem; the choice is yours to decide whether or not the lives of five people are saved by the sacrifice of another person. This moral paradox mirrors real-life implications in politics, society and war. In terms of killing and letting die: are we morally obligated to kill in order to save a larger group of people? It may seem that the moral standings of killing and letting die are the same as a life for lives seems completely rational. However, killing and letting die are completely separate identities as they operate on distinct plateaus of the human mind. Ultimately, killing is morally worse than letting die as it unfairly treats people as a means to promote other people (even if it prevents the death of a greater number of people). An intervention which is crafted to end the life of another is considered far worse than letting death take the life, which will be further discussed through the consent assumption, difference between diverting harm & causing harm, and the Christian view & deontological ethics. Within the confines of the trolley problem, we see a life versus five lives. Most people see that one life is worth less than five lives. This is true only if the one life would have died anyways. The assumption made in the dilemma is that the one person on the alternate track is just a means to save the others. We effectively ignore the consent of the other person who would have otherwise not have been involved. Moreover, one does not divert harm by changing the path the trolley takes; rather harm is caused by this decision and effectively killing the person who had no reason to be in this problem. Revisiting the consent assumption, we can picture another scenario: There are five sick patients who need five different organs or they will die, and a completely healthy person walks in the hospital for a check-up. As the...
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