The Trolley Problem

The Trolley Problem by Thomas Cathcart

This book is small, but a fun read.  It is great book to keep handy and read while you are waiting.  If for no other reason than you can sound smart discussing the theories of Immanuel Kant, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Intelligent Design to name a few.  The concept is simple – the basic problem of if you see a runaway train and it is about to hit 5 people and kill them, but you can flip the switch and divert the train to a different track but it would hit and kill one man, there is no time to warn any of the men on the track.  Do you flip the switch and let the train hit one man or let the train stay on the current track and hit 5 men.
The author took the approach of trying the case in the court of public opinion and the reader hears a side for and a side against flipping the switch.  Then you read about different reasons why people justify the decisions they make on if they would flip the switch or find the person who did guilty of a crime.
Overall, it was an interesting read.  At only point the methods being used to show arguments made me think this should be required reading for law school students, so they could help make effective arguments when presenting their side.  However, the methodology was superficial in coverage, as would be expected for a book of this length, so it may not be as beneficial as I thought.

Suggested Reading:

Essentials of Machiavelli

Pure Reason

St. Thomas Aquinas

Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Principles of Ethics

The Most Good You Can Do

Beyond Good and Evil

Utilitarianism

 

Originally Posted on blogger Book Review page (see it here)

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