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comment by snoodog
snoodog  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What Do Buddhist Monks Think of the Trolley Problem? - The Atlantic

Why do people always assume that the trolley running over one person vs running over 5 is always the best outcome. I say both outcomes are undesirable but one is not better than the other. There are too many other unknowns makes think of this parable.

    A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

    A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

    Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the mares and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The villagers cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

    A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”




user-inactivated  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

"Less bad" is definitely better. If you're choosing out of two bad options, you want one that does least lasting harm. One person's death is bad enough on its own, but it beats the hell out of five persons' death.