The train morality problem

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The train morality problem

Postby waterchan » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:07 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:What would Buddha do?

I don't think this should be a problem for the Buddha of the pali tipitaka. He can see the kamma of others, so he would act accordingly based on the ripening of kamma involved.

It's only a dilemma for the rest of us.

A virtue ethicist would not flip the switch.

A utilitarian or a lay Buddhist would just flip the switch. Having right intention, there is no killing intent present and therefore no unwholesome kamma accumulated. Unless the guy on the other track is an arahant, in which case the lay Buddhist is kammically screwed for a minimum of 1.62×10^12 years.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby Sokehi » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:19 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

It starts to get more interesting when you move onto the gun-man who is about to kill 5 people.

You have the means to kill him, and by doing so, save the five.

Or do you not kill him, and let him kill the five.

Arguably, that's a much more difficult choice.

Retro. :)

But do you really know that he is going to shoot them? Maybe he stops or not even start doing so at all... :tongue:
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby vesak2014 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:03 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:What would you do?

I'd flip the switch and reach the tied person as soon as possible to set him free. Whichever nearest comes first. If the mad philosopher is around, I'd ask him to help me by doing either one. At least you do something other than just watching someone gets killed.

What would Buddha do?

This question doesn't apply to a Buddha. Because he can stop the train, or set the five people free, or flip the switch and set the one person free, anything you can think possible.

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