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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What Do Buddhist Monks Think of the Trolley Problem? - The Atlantic

    Because of course, the greatest philosophical question of our time is why humans aren't as coldly rational as machines

One of the more prominent ones at the moment, I'd say.

    and the greatest ethical problem to be solved is how we can fix that.

Fix the fact that we aren't coldly rational? That's not the point - of the problem or of the quote. The point is: can we streamline our consciousness so that people from around the world would yield similar results by default? A very far-fetched question, grant you, and one would argue against such a normalization.




Odder  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sorry, my entire post was sarcasm. The article seemed like a confused mishmash of conflating either moral intuition or rationality with morality, so I was trying to poke fun at it.

user-inactivated  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I see.

So, you think there's enough of a difference between moral intuition and morality to justify poking fun at the confusion when it happens? I'd never think that, both being seemingly directly related to each other.

Odder  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You can get a lot of people to agree that torturing suspected terrorists is justifiable so long as it gets you actionable information. That doesn't make torture okay. You can get a lot of people to agree that murder is justifiable in the case where the person killed someone you care about. That doesn't make vigilante justice okay. The entire existence of the field of ethics is predicated on the idea that morals are not intuitive, that we need to look closer and think harder, and that we can't just go with our gut. More generally, philosophy assumes that "common sense" is a contradiction because if all reasonable people agreed on everything, we wouldn't have anything at all to discuss.

It might be a little mean to poke fun here, but when a Harvard professor has based his entire career on the trolley problem, and he hasn't understood the trolley problem making fun seems nicer than the alternative.

user-inactivated  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I see. Good points.

    when a Harvard professor has based his entire career on the trolley problem, and he hasn't understood the trolley problem

What makes you think so? Not trying to be obtuse here: genuinely curious in my exploration.

Odder  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The trolley problem was largely invented to illustrate why utilitarianism doesn't make sense, why it isn't valid to say something is moral because you're saving five lives while sacrificing one. There's something fundamentally different about pushing a fat man onto the track vs. flipping a switch to divert a trolley, and there's a difference between examining why those two cases are different, and examining why most people agree that those two cases are different. The former is philosophy, the latter seems a bit like someone trying to construct a science of why the people who disagree with them are irrational.