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Test your morals

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Test your morals

#1 Post by Alan H » August 13th, 2009, 11:14 am

An old one, but an interesting twist [---][/---] collecting the answers for the religious and non-religious separately. From Richard Wiseman: http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/200 ... ur-morals/
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Zoe
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Re: Test your morals

#2 Post by Zoe » August 13th, 2009, 12:35 pm

It's frustrating to have to wait until next week to get the results. I voted for pull the lever but not push the man.

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Alan C.
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Re: Test your morals

#3 Post by Alan C. » August 13th, 2009, 12:56 pm

I voted with Zoe.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Fia
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Re: Test your morals

#4 Post by Fia » August 13th, 2009, 1:38 pm

Ditto, but I'd also shout loudly at the chap on the track to get the fuck out of the way, fast, hopefully alleviating any deaths...

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gcb01
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Re: Test your morals

#5 Post by gcb01 » August 13th, 2009, 2:28 pm

I voted to pull the lever and push the man.
Regards

Campbell

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jaywhat
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Re: Test your morals

#6 Post by jaywhat » August 13th, 2009, 3:16 pm

I would do none of these because there is some illogicality in the questions (i) and there are other options as well (ii)

(i) you cannot be sure the train would actually kill the five people

(ii) there is also the option of jumping off the bridge yourself

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getreal
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Re: Test your morals

#7 Post by getreal » August 13th, 2009, 3:39 pm

I voted to pull the lever and not push the man as well.

It seemed to me that pulling the lever was leading indirectly to anothers death, while pushing someone was directly leading to their death ie in the first scenario I did not do anything to the man, but in the second, to push him was more akin to killing him.

does that make any sense?

I've had a whole day shopping with the in laws at Braehead and my brain is more mushy than usual.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Marié
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Re: Test your morals

#8 Post by Marié » August 13th, 2009, 4:14 pm

jaywhat wrote:I would do none of these because there is some illogicality in the questions (i) and there are other options as well (ii)

(i) you cannot be sure the train would actually kill the five people

(ii) there is also the option of jumping off the bridge yourself
I agree. It would be a bit illogical to assume that if this were to happen in real life none of the people on the tracks would do nothing or not see the train approaching or that you would remain calm, notice the lever and the locations of all the people (for example, you might see the five people on the tracks but not the one person on the other track...) and have the ability and time to react. Of course taking all that into account would make this moral dilemma exercise pretty complex... But, then again, does a question with only a couple of option give a very realistic view of people's morals?

Anyway, I also voted pull the lever but not push the man, although I have no idea what I would do in real life. Probably panic and scream like billyo. :)
"If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel
good in your heart, it is not success at all."
- Anna Quindlen

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Alan H
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Re: Test your morals

#9 Post by Alan H » August 13th, 2009, 4:39 pm

I think for the purposes of the experiment there are no other alternatives: you are completely restricted to one of these four choices. No amount of shouting will help!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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jaywhat
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Re: Test your morals

#10 Post by jaywhat » August 13th, 2009, 5:10 pm

You think I will stop shouting ?

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Paolo
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Re: Test your morals

#11 Post by Paolo » August 14th, 2009, 11:33 am

It would all depend on context.

If the people on the tracks were all equally blameless then I would pull the lever so only one would die. If a large man would definitely stop the train (which is utterly ridiculous) I would still not push him off, because he wasn't exposing himself to a dangerous situation in the first place.

I got run over by a bike yesterday but I don't blame the rider any more than myself, because I should have used a pedestrian crossing - I was exposing myself to risk by crossing where I did. If I had been on the pavement and had been run over then I would entirely blame the rider. If people are on railway tracks they are exposing themselves to risk, but the big man on the bridge is not taking the risk, so why should he pay the price?

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Marié
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Re: Test your morals

#12 Post by Marié » August 14th, 2009, 5:06 pm

Paolo wrote:It would all depend on context.

If the people on the tracks were all equally blameless then I would pull the lever so only one would die. If a large man would definitely stop the train (which is utterly ridiculous) I would still not push him off, because he wasn't exposing himself to a dangerous situation in the first place.

I got run over by a bike yesterday but I don't blame the rider any more than myself, because I should have used a pedestrian crossing - I was exposing myself to risk by crossing where I did. If I had been on the pavement and had been run over then I would entirely blame the rider. If people are on railway tracks they are exposing themselves to risk, but the big man on the bridge is not taking the risk, so why should he pay the price?
I agree about your reasons for pulling the lever and not pushing the man.

On a completely (well, not completely) irrelevant note... What you decide to do might also depend on who exactly was on the tracks... Let's say the one person would be, say, your mom and the five people on the other track would be, say, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, George W. Bush, Kent Hovind and Ben Stein, would that make any difference? I have to admit, I might be quite a bit more hesitant about pulling the lever... :D Not that I want any of those other people to get hit by a train! :)
"If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel
good in your heart, it is not success at all."
- Anna Quindlen

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Alan H
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Re: Test your morals

#13 Post by Alan H » August 14th, 2009, 6:56 pm

Paolo wrote:I got run over by a bike yesterday but I don't blame the rider any more than myself, because I should have used a pedestrian crossing - I was exposing myself to risk by crossing where I did. If I had been on the pavement and had been run over then I would entirely blame the rider.
Wait a minute! The guy was going fast (speeding?) on the 'wrong' side of the road, overtaking a line of stationary vehicles? Yes, you should have used the crossing. Yes, you should have seen him coming, but it sounds like he should have been far more careful and he should have seen you. Careless driving?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Paolo
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Re: Test your morals

#14 Post by Paolo » August 18th, 2009, 9:56 am

Alan H wrote:
Paolo wrote:I got run over by a bike yesterday but I don't blame the rider any more than myself, because I should have used a pedestrian crossing - I was exposing myself to risk by crossing where I did. If I had been on the pavement and had been run over then I would entirely blame the rider.
Wait a minute! The guy was going fast (speeding?) on the 'wrong' side of the road, overtaking a line of stationary vehicles? Yes, you should have used the crossing. Yes, you should have seen him coming, but it sounds like he should have been far more careful and he should have seen you. Careless driving?
He was going about 30mph, but he was on the wrong side of the road overtaking stationary vehicles - in legal terms he was quite clearly at fault. However, I live in London, I know what motorbikes do around stationary traffic and I quite simply should have been more careful. I don't subscribe to the blame culture - we are all respnosible for ourselves and we need to assess the risks we are willing to take and weigh them against the cost of harm. The health and safety emphasis of our Nanny State exists to reduce liability, but it has the effect of devolving personal responsibility for safety, something that I think has serious social implications.

Saying that, if I'm honest, I do blame the bike rider more than myself - but he paid a bigger cost than me, so I see the outcome as equitable.

Beki
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Re: Test your morals

#15 Post by Beki » August 20th, 2009, 2:01 pm

Same vote and for much the same reasons I think. The people on the tracks are taking a risk. There is no way that you could shove someone who was totally blameless to save five people who have chosen to take that risk.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

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Alan H
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Re: Test your morals

#16 Post by Alan H » August 20th, 2009, 7:30 pm

Beki wrote:There is no way that you could shove someone who was totally blameless to save five people who have chosen to take that risk.
Is that because you would be arrested and thrown you in jail for the murder of the man, rather than because of the (as some would say) moral (utilitarian) imperative to save as many lives as possible? Indeed, is it possible to separate our social conditioning when making such a decision?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Fia
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Re: Test your morals

#17 Post by Fia » August 20th, 2009, 10:50 pm

Interesting, Alan. Until you said
because you would be arrested and thrown you in jail for the murder of the man
I hadn't considered that. The moral imperative is to do whatever you can to minimise deaths, yet most of our thinking so far as also been to not be the direct cause of an "innocent" persons death. Whatever I did I would have to explain my actions. And I'd certainly like to think I'd do something rather than nothing. The results from the religious and atheists were apparently different.
40% of religious people vs only 30% of atheists said that they would do nothing (i.e., neither pull the lever or push the man).
Perhaps many religious folk (clearly susceptible to social conditioning :laughter: ) on the bridge would would shrug and let god take care of it, and many of us would have a quick check of our moral compass and hopefully act before it's too late? We need many supplementary questions to get near understanding of why here I think. But a very interesting think :smile:

Maria Mac
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Re: Test your morals

#18 Post by Maria Mac » August 29th, 2009, 1:24 am

I'd forgotten about this one (I voted with the majority here) but here is the result in case anyone missed it:
The voting from yesterday was fascinating.

The main difference was that 40% of religious people vs only 30% of atheists said that they would do nothing (i.e., neither pull the lever or push the man). Given the numbers involved, this was a statistically significant difference. Obviously, by doing nothing more people die, however, on the upside you have had no hand in anyone’s death. Apparently this option appeals more to religious folk than atheists. Discuss!

(Just FYI, 50% of atheists vs 40% of religious people went with the ‘I would pull the lever but not push the man’ option).

Hundovir
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Re: Test your morals

#19 Post by Hundovir » August 29th, 2009, 7:57 am

Maria wrote:
The voting from yesterday was fascinating.

The main difference was that 40% of religious people vs only 30% of atheists said that they would do nothing (i.e., neither pull the lever or push the man). Given the numbers involved, this was a statistically significant difference. Obviously, by doing nothing more people die, however, on the upside you have had no hand in anyone’s death. Apparently this option appeals more to religious folk than atheists. Discuss!

(Just FYI, 50% of atheists vs 40% of religious people went with the ‘I would pull the lever but not push the man’ option).
It's completely impossible to draw any conclusions from this. We do not know that people voted in the correct section. It is quite possible that atheists mischievously or otherwise voted in the "religious" slot and vice versa.

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coledavis
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Re: Test your morals

#20 Post by coledavis » August 30th, 2009, 1:34 pm

In a bad mood: pulled the lever, pushed the man and hoped the others would also buy it.
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