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15. Empirically-informed Responses

Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) The Trolley Problem, as discussed in the last lecture, is the problem of reconciling an apparent inconsistency in our moral intuitions: that while it is permissible to turn the runaway trolley to a track thus killing one to save five, it is impermissible to push a fat man onto the trolley track, killing him to save the five. In this lecture, Professor Gendler reviews several "non-classic" responses to this problem, each of which aims to bring the two cases, and hence our apparently conflicting judgments about them, together. The three responses considered differ not only in their conclusions, but also in their methodologies, illustrating how different techniques might be brought to bear on philosophical puzzles. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Recap of the Trolley Problem and Three Responses 09:19 - Chapter 2. Thomson's New Response to the Trolley Problem 20:28 - Chapter 3. Greene on the Trolley Problem 39:41 - Chapter 4. Sunstein on the Trolley Problem Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Spring 2011.
Length: 49:39


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