The Trolley Problem

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Assignment Instructions: Please Follow outline below when writing the paper.

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For this assignment we will use a thought experiment.

Suppose you are a train conductor on a runaway train. The train heads straight for five men who will not have time to get out of the way, and your train will kill them. But! You notice there is a track going to the right, and you have just enough time to pull the lever and turn onto that track. There is one person on that track who will die just as assuredly as the five would if you stayed on their track. Should you head to the right?

You will write an essay of approximately 1000 words which describes what you think a utilitarian would recommend that you do in the train scenario, what Kant would do in the train scenario, and what you would do in the train scenario and why you would choose to do that. This paper requires that you use in-text citations for any quotations you include and that you create a references page citing all of the references that you quote in the paper. You may use MLA style citations (a guide to these can be found here)

. DO NOT USE OUTSIDE SOURCES FOR THIS PAPER.

Use the following guidelines to structure your paper. This is a kind of fill-in-the-blanks guide to writing this paper. Include the sentences in bold italic word for word in your paper. You will need several of your own sentences in addition to those provided below.

Introduction (1 or 2 paragraphs):

Your introductory paragraph should have the following (not necessarily in this order).

A. Thesis statement- You should state what you think is best to do in the situation described by the scenario. I think I should___________________. Fill in the blank with either divert the train to the right killing one person or not divert the train to the right even though this will result in the death of five people.

B. Background for the thesis. This should include mentioning that you will be evaluating what Utilitarianism and Deontology say about this thought experiment and a brief description of the thought experiment.

C. Plan of the Paper. It might help your reader to tell them how your paper will go. Something like: “I will begin by describing what Bentham would have me do in this situation. Next, I will contrast that with what Kant’s moral theory

Section I:

Jeremy Bentham would probably want me to ____________________,

because _[explain one or more of the primary principles of Utilitarianism and how he would apply it to the train scenario to decide what I should do].
As he says, “[pick a quote from the utilitarianism section of the text that illustrates that specific principle]” (cite it too) and explain what the quote means in your own words,

Section II:

On the other hand, Kant would most likely tell me to ___________________

Kant’s moral theory requires us to follow the [pick one the Universalization Test or the Humanity Formula] which says ” [add a quotation here] . (cite it too).
What Kant means here is ______________________

So, you can see that he is primarily concerned about _________________________ and he would probably conclude that I should ________________.

Section III:

Personally, I think I should _______________________

Even though I might share some of the values underlying _________’s position, like __________________________,

I nevertheless would decide to _________________________________
because __________________________________.

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