trolley problem

Topics: Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, Ethics Pages: 1 (309 words) Published: September 24, 2013
In this essay will be discussing the trolley problem devised by Philippa Foot, and exploring different aspects of utilitarianism in relation the situation. The trolley problem is as follows ‘A train is hurtling down a track and you see that it is going to hit a group of 5 people and will certainly kill them all. However you are standing on a bridge over the line next to a fat man and you are sure that if you pushed him onto the line his bulk would be sufficient to stop the train before it hit the group of people, would you push him?’. This theory of utilitarianism is in relation of the positivism presumption of situation ethics, were love should be the most important criterion of all. I believe the theory which makes most sense is Jeremy Bentham’s theory of the hedonic calculus. However due to many decisions and actions having to be made in a matter of seconds, I can’t see it being practical in everyday life. The process of the hedonic calculus can take a matter of hours let alone minuets, and by following the process step-by step the decision that had to be made may have already passed. In relation to John mills theory of maximum pleasure and minimal pain, I strongly disagree that this is the correct answer for many ethical situations. Everyone’s pleasures are different and individual, for you to make a decision this can become a hindrance as it’s hard to define how to receive the maximum happiness from every individual. Using this theory in just a situation when it’s just your happiness involved however is a simple process, as you will know your preferences and what makes you happy. However when using this theory in a situation with more than one person it becomes a very complicated situation.
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