Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mr. Kamau


What position will you take, push the fat man, and save the five lives, or leave the fat man and let the trolley run over the five people?  What are some of the reasons for your choice?

60 comments:

  1. i am sure i would save the five people though i must agree even losing one life is too much to bear with looking at the emotional part but then looking at the statistical part it is better losing one life compared to the five lives and so hiding your emotions would be the sensible reason to do in such a situation though it is a difficult decision depending on your relation with that Fat man

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  2. Hi guys,
    I think I am looking at this from how important the fat person is. Let’s say the fat person is the manager of a very important company and the five people are “mere” labourers. I think it will make more sense to save someone who is more influential because the fact that we have more people living does not necessarily mean that they would contribute more to life in general. However, as human beings, we might not have the right to judge how important someone is…

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  3. i agree with vusi. i think sacrificing one life to save five others would be a good option even though i am not justifying the fact that the fat man should have to be sacrificed but on a more familiar scale it is like having a scape goat kind of thing. one person has to be the dummy so that the others will learn except in this case it is a matter of ife and death. personally i think i would be able to handle the death of one person on my conscience rather than five. besides the fat is going to die early anyway because he probably has some health issues to deal with. i dnt mean to be snobbish or anything but its a fact

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  4. Clementine i disagree with you. The fact that someone is fat does not necessarily mean that he has health issues to deal with so he would die early. From my Biology HL class, i have learnt that slim people as well can have health problems and in fact anybody can die at any time so i don't think you are justified in saying that he would die early and so he should sacrifice his life for five other people.

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  5. I would not push the fat man and save the five lives. Like the woman from Harvard, I am not entirely for unitarianism. Human lives should not be "counted" because in reality, one life is not necessarily of less value than five. Therefore sacrificing the fat man for five lives is not a good enough...or is not right.

    Secondly, I think that humans should not try to "play God"..unless it has to do with their own lives. This might be controversial and confusing so i'll illustrate..
    If a mother wants to put herself in the way of a moving vehicle to save her 10-year old son, I think that she can..
    But if this same woman is walking home, minding her own business and sees a 10 year old who will get killed unless she pushes a fat woman in the way of the vehicle, then she should keep walking..
    People might even argue with me on the first scenario, but it's her son and her life. With the second, she has no right to try to sacrifice someone else.
    Lastly, I think once someone knows that saving someone will result in the inevitable death of another,she shouldn't interfere. Nothing gives her the right to prioritise life...again, except, of course it has to do with her life (and she's a grown mature woman) and maybe that of her child.

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  6. Mz. Appiah-Korang, i don't think it is fair to use social status in this scenario. i think it would be rather unfair to let the 'mere labourers' die because the fat guy is influential. these labourers have families, who is going to deal with that. that is like pulling five families down the drain when this influential guy has propably left a huge empire for his family. honestly that doesn't sound too fair to me.

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  7. utilitarianism i meant

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  8. I will have to agree with Maame, you can conclude just by someone's weight what their relevance is. Maame's argument about the person's role in life seems more valid. But if I were in that situation I would have to say age may come into play. Laborers who are young adults will have more to give than a fat old man for example however honestly it is not in our position to judge. This situation is very similar to the one we often asked in JSS, if you mother and your grandmother were drowning who would you save?I think when it boils down to it it is a matter of instinct, there wouldn't be much time to be rational about it.

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  9. Clementine,you are just as wrong as Maame. No one should try to priotise life..

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  10. I meant 'cant' in the first line..sorry

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  11. i would save the fat man because personally i think losing one life is more painful than losing five lives. moreover, saving the five others will mean causing the fat man to meet his untimely death since i would have to push him to save the rest. i mean accidents do happen all the time and therefore if the five people have come across an accident, i cannot help them because if i push the fat man, it will be a more serious crime. so unlike Vusi, i would save the fat man.

    Esther

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  12. I agree with Deborah about "playing God". I also think we are all being theoretical over here. Let us try and put ourselves in the situation. I know i would just walk away because i would not even want to feel like i have killed one person, even if in doing so i save five lives.

    To Clementine, so are you suggesting that if Obama was standing there, you would push him in order to save five lives? Honestly, would you even be able to push the fat man?

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  13. hie Guys...
    it is clear that almost everyone who has commented prefers the fat guy dead... however i would like to agree with Maame Boah.... who says we have to look at how important the fat person is in the society or in the business world as Maame has stated. Killing 5 people who are maybe doing nothing for the country or maybe contribute nothing will be far much better that killing one useful person.... i also think that one life wasted is better than killing five lives because it feels more right to kill one person instead of five i will rather prefer the fat one dead
    Linda

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  14. in my opinion, i think i would save the five lives. having said that, i disagree with Mz.Appiah-Korang when she says that the fat man should be saved!. look at it this way, losing the five lives will be harder to co-op with than only one person. here, we are not looking at how fat or thin the person is. the fat person's life is still counted as one life and the rest are counted as one life each. imagine how many families will mourn for different lives in comparison to only one family mourning for a single life.

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  15. At Maame its not about the importance of the person taking your first example if you allowed the 5 men to die instead of the fat man due to his importance you should consider that they are manual labourers and that means -5 from all so how would just one man replace those five....its not like i'm hating on the fat man but then he is the only one who can save them and be replaced by another upcoming important person

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  16. I would leave the trolley to kill the five guys because i personally wouldn't want to have the life of a poor fat man who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time on my hands. If the trolley was out of control, that was probably the fault of other people so it killing five people, rather than me murdering one seems like the better option

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  17. First of all clementine, i disagree with you saying fat people have health issues. there are so many people in the world who are fat because of genetics. i havn't really explained it well but isnt there something like slow metabolism rate? All i am trying to say is, why would you decide to kill the 'fat' person because he is fat? What makes fat people worse off? I think i would just back-off and let destiny or GOD do his thing. None of my business.

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  18. even though i agree with maame and vusi i don't entirely agree eith clemi. is she saying that the fat man due to his rotundity deserves to die? i personally i have seen old, portly people who have outlived their more "fit" siblings. Again, what about what these people were meant to do? After all einstein was just a common "laborer"...

    Again i don't think one life is worth more than another... if you murder one or you murder five, u are still a murderer.

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  19. to those who would want to save the five people, imagine if the fat is related to you in one way or the other, would you want to kill him to save people you do not know? i don't think so. therefore i think we should leave the five people to embrace their fate.

    Esther

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  20. To think of it,i seriously care less if i
    saving all five lives is worth it than just leaving this fat man to just go lie in his grave besides, i seriously care less to see the fat man die than to see to lose the those five lives because the laborers are more active as compared to the fat man

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  21. Ok again about playing God... isn't aren't we considered His instruments in the earth?

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  22. I completely agree with Teye and disagree with all others... Leave the trolley alone! Let it go. Don't try to save someone when he's not yours to save, especially when you HAVE to kill another! Its cos90.

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  23. Debbie if y aren't you for utilitarianism? Aren't we all utilitarian in a sense

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  24. At Vusa and At Alpha,
    why then is there the Secret Service to protect presidents? We might not have the right to judge people but lets face reality- it happens!
    Someone is more important than another person...
    So IF I REALLY HAD TO, i would think about the importance of the fat man. But also, what if i didn't know the fat man, or how important he was? I guess like Deborah said, I'll just walk away.

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  25. debbie do u honestly think that ur conscience will leave you alone and tell u that u did the right thing?

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  26. Safo. We probably are...to do "good works" etc. But I strongly think that in saving lives, in trying to decide who lives and who doesn't, God is absolute. We being His instruments (if we are) doesn't mean that we can BE Him. If He is God then He is owner of life.

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  27. i think you people are assuming a lot....... anyway i actually think the fat one should die because i don't think my conscience would really hunt me down if i kill the fat guy in place of five lives.......actually my emotions might be responsible of this decision because maybe i don't like fat people am i therefore justified to kill the fat one?
    linda

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  28. Eddie_F,i agree with you but there is also the point that you can't just stand back and do nothing. why would you just stand back and let destiny do it's thing. like really come on,you must want to save at least someone and not just stand back and watch. William Jennings Bryan once said "destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice........" think about that.

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  29. To Deborah,
    what if am atheist and don't believe in God and "we being his instruments"?

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  30. Well... This is actually too hard a question than I thought.
    I think this question is basically related to conciousness for me.
    I've been thinking...If you push the fat man, the other 5 lives will be saved and you'll be a hero. But again, if you don't push the fat man, the other five will perish as you watch. Which is which?
    for me I think I would not push the fat man, because if I was too push him and save the other 5 lives, I doubt if this would be recognised as a good cause because the 5 lives I am trying to save may unknowingly perceive this as an evil act unless they are aware of the risk before them. Again if I push the fat man, in a sense, I may have killed him and this would haunt me for the rest of my life. And also if you don't save the other five, that will be another disturbing issue.
    What I also thought of was that; how do you know that if you don't push the fat man the other 5 will die?! maybe if you leave things as they are by miracle it will be turn out in the end that they are all safe. We can't tell these things sometimes.
    I think I would leave this situation as it. At least I would not kill someone!

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  31. Maame what if u knew neither of them?

    Lets say this fat man is a chubby Un secretary general, who u don't know, and was taking a nice stroll?

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  32. again, assuming there was a relation among the five people, i know a lot of people would want to kill the fat man. but will this be the best?
    i wonder if any of you guys heard the story of the train station agent who sacrificed the life of his grandson for the train passengers. these people in the train were armed robbers, thieves....just social misfits. the innocent boy was sacrificed for these people. the situation is the same here, if we save the five, the fat man will die and we save the fat man, the other five will die. i'm not saying the five are thieves but they can be anything. i don't think any of us would have done anything. we would have just stood and waited for the results.

    Esther

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  33. well Safo, i agree with you, maybe i took it too personally on the fat guy but my point is iwould rather let one guy die in order to save five lives. it is matter of opportunity cost.

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  34. Debbie....please seriuosly.....lets say all the 5 where related to you wouldnt you do the same...pushing the fat man....i'm not saying it right because it is murder....and dont you think you would regret watching them die whilst you knew you could do something....i totally agree to some extent that i wold have just watched and let nature do its wonders....but then what if i'm closely related to those five?....then it changes something doesnt it...you would definitely try to do something

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  35. Emmm… If I were fat, I would be very scared of you Vusa and equally scared of Achiaa if I were a labourer. I agree with Debbie and indirectly with the “Harvard” woman because we cannot “Count” lives! How can we assign values to them? Pushing the fat man in the way of the train is Murder; we should jump in the way of the train ourselves. There is nothing wrong with sacrificing yourself for others or telling the fat man that the only way to save those 5 people is by sacrificing himself.
    However, with respect to statistics and the trend it suggests. For situation situation 1, I would not pull the lever and for situation 2,I would not push the man. For situation 2, regardless of whether it is a button I have to press to kill (yes kill) the fat man; I would not do it. I would try to find a way to save the 5 people without killing someone else. The end product does not justify the means at all. Achiaa, even if obama is in the place of the fat man, or even one of the five people on the track, I would try to save them another way. I still believe it is murder, I wonder if there are any lawsuit in which someone was brought to court for this sort of Murder.
    (okay and comments jumped from 3 to 16 in about 15 minutes so I am hoping that this is not out of place.)
    x.x
    awesome start for TOK orange group! woot woot!

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  36. What if the train is an automated empty train?

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  37. Eddie said we should let God do his thing but arent you supposed to do the pushing...... or i got the God part wrongly......
    Linda

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  38. i disagree with Deborah and those who share her views. i don't think you are answering the question which has been presented. you are given two options which are pushing the fat man, and saving the five lives, or leaving the fat man and letting the trolley run over the five people...
    walking away wasn't an option and i don't think that would be a good decision as well!!! so again, what position will you take and what are the reasons for your choice?

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  39. you guys i think its getting religious here. i mean everyone has a conscience and all but...well....religious or not, will power, psychological and emotion strength to handle the situation also counts but really at that point in time i don't think anyone would be thinking bout their religion at that time except the five guys going to die.

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  40. hmmm...clementine, uve got me thinking.
    btw.. debbie you have to agree with me too if you're agreeing with Teye, kind of on the same side.
    Anyway, i can bet that most of us in this class will stand there rooted to the spot too nervous to do anything. But thats not the point.

    Clementine, what if the fat man was a raelly important person, like Obama as said earlier( ok ok Obama is not fat...what about Rick Ross? or Fat Joe? you get me point) , or also on the other hand, what if there was an Einstein in his youth who happened to work there? Who would you kill then? This is why i wouldn't get involved in such.

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  41. what if it was a skinny man and not a fat one?

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  42. In the audio, the presenter said that saving five people and killing one was "innate" (correct me if i'm wrong) because more people will live and that was the most important. However, from our comments, i disagree because so far most of us would walk away and only a few people would push the fat man.

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  43. looking at the reality of the situation,i think i would be too shocked to take action. i would probably just throw myself in front of the trolley by accident.

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  44. Have you guys noticed that the guy being labeled as 'fat'has created some sort of perception towards him. I think now its not just about saving the five people but people but the way we seem to rank people in terms of position and the physical. Seriously who gives us the right to determine who is important, the five workers could be the only people who provide for their families and the fat guy could be the only doctor in his city....i think we should leave the situation as it is, for all you kno, one of the five men could see the trolley and alert the others.

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  45. well Eddie, i agree with you but i personally dn't feel comfortable with standing back to do nothing but yes Eddie_F i agree with you point. i rest my case with you.

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  46. Again i agree with Eddie_f we will be too rooted to the spot to do anything at all.

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  47. Safo, it's a fat man we are talkin' about here, not a skinny one.
    For Vusa...I think that YES!! you have have saved the 5 lives and unfortunately you yourself would have killed the fat man by pushing him. So think about your conciousness thereafter!

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  48. i agree with Vusi because it takes a second replace the fat man when he dies...

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  49. well clemi, religion is tied with our senses of morality (in my opinion).
    @ Alpha: yes, you are right. We only have two choices and I think we both chose choice 1: let 5 people die...
    If there is no other way to save them, they die. And while they are about to die, I would be trying to save them...hmmm maybe that's why im in school: When I am confronted with that situation I will be able to save the 5 people with some sort of ingenuity :D
    If my family members were part of the 5, I do not know what I would do in that situation BUT on paper I would let them die because pushing the fat man is still murder AND honestly, I believe that my family would recognise that I had murdered a man and therefore be very dissappointed in me.
    had anyone here watched the movie "her life before her eyes" starring Uma Thurman? check out its plot on wikipedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Life_Before_Her_Eyes
    The protagonist makes a utilitarian decision but what would you do? :S
    Wouldn't you try to save both your lives or die trying? I would..I think

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  50. WOW. I thought i was going to moderate this conversation, but I am overwhelmed, you all raise very interesting points. Now let's address some of them.
    Most of you seem to be divided in your opinion as to whether you will push the fat man. Two positions so far, most are suggesting that, depending on the role of man in society, then you will push him or spare the life. Vusi and Clemi seem to agree that pushing the man to save five lives is the right thing to do. How about this, you do not know the role of the man in society, and you do not know the five people. What position will you take?

    Doborah, you clearly listened to the post, and you raise very interesting points. Your non-interference position at first seems like it will absolve you from any guilt, but in so doing, you have chosen to kill the five people?

    Khaidi, for you, its all about instinct, are our moral decisions then based on instinct, or is there a rational process?

    Most of you, if not all of you, seem to point to the fact that you will have to live with the decision, EZERYMAN talks of being 'haunted' and about 'consciousness'? Does society play a role in the moral decisions that we make?

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  51. wow..ok.
    Safo and Kamau have risen a point about conscience and whether I will be "free of guilt" or not. For that, I first of all think that conscience is a very terrible think to base decisions on. Consciences (if there is such a word), are subjective. Consciences are even "dead" sometimes. What I think is wrong, you might not. About whether I will be free in my conscience or not, I do not realistically, think I will be. Because I saw something bad going to happen and I did not stop it. It DOES NOT mean that I CHOSE to kill the five people. I DID NOT KILL THEM lol. They were killed. By the moving trolley. Not me. However, If I decided to "save" them , then I would have killed someone. What it means, is what it is: That I chose not to help them. If we wanted to look at it in terms of conscience then yea, it will weigh on my conscience but not as much as the other option, in which I would have actively "killed"
    To Alpha. Walking away means that yes, the five people will die. But it doesn't mean taking their lives. "Fate" would have run it's course.
    Maame, if you didn't believe in God, I guess that at least you'd believe that in this world things JUST happen at least...or maybe u'd believe in nature, fate, destinty etc..

    Back to Kamau, yes, society does play a role in moral decisions. Society tells us what it wrong and what is not in the first place..and so most definitely, it plays a part in the moral decisions we take.

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  52. Yasmin Evans-TotoeAugust 18, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    simple and short.......let all of them die. Push the fat man at another side and let him die too.
    If you will feel bad...you too push yourself in and die too!
    yes this is my response to all those who were waiting for me to comment

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  53. Yasmin Evans-TotoeAugust 18, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    Okay okay...on a more serious note. Honestly if i were there i would not do anything because i personally feel that it is not my place or my decision to chose who gets to live and who doesn’t.
    That is my official stance but for the point of argument here is my response.
    Imagine calling five separate families other than just one to tell them that they have lost their loved ones. REALLY THOUGH status shouldn’t matter here. To the individual family, these guys probably meant the world to them, or were the bread winners of the family so i ask, would you rather kill one important person or 5 important people. Im sorry but to me the numbers do matter and i must say i would save the 5 people.

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  54. at Debbie...society rules just suck...look at it in this way..if i were to shoot a person (gun him down) and say it was self defence and i have witnesses then i'm innocent...aint i...look kill 1 and save 5...it seems wrong but i'm still saving society in terms of population not that its right but then whats YOUR definition of right..my differ from mine individually.

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  55. bad girl yasmin!
    Technically, you are saying you would rather kill me than have 5 people in SOS die. Then ,according to your argument (that numbers matter), why not kill yourself or let me kill you! :D
    This is of course if numbers matter and that none of us have to be fat to save the train. do you still think that numbers matter?
    hmmmm not convinced?... I don't really understand all this talk about saving people when the truth is that you are murdering one person. Murdering is illegal. letting 5 people die is not.
    who would push an innocent man onto a track to save 5 people? Who would walk into a convenient store and find a fat man to push onto a track? If you can push him onto the track when he is beside you, it is the same as going to look for a fat man to push onto a track. But you wouldn't do that would you? It is wrong. That is the law.

    Society plays a role in the moral decisions that we make, but I believe that religion plays an even greater role. This is because society can play a role in the decisions we make through the laws that it follows but ,more often than not,these laws are determined from a religion or mixture of religions.

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  56. Well anyone one in such a situation would have to think and very quickly and rationally. It's all well and good but these aren't 6 apples we are talking about here where we can easily decide to sacrifice one and allowing 5 to live and sacrificing 5 and allowing one to live the big question is how do we rationalize the loss of lives.
    This is in fact a very delicate process how do we weigh the loss of one life against five, does anyone have any higher value than the other? This dilemma was seen in 'The Rock' if you all can remember where they found it hard to penetrate the stronghold of villains who planned to bomb a city and had acquired hostages. The authorities had to decide whether to bomb the stronghold to save the lives of people living in a city or to save the lives of the hostages by not acting. There wouldn't be this problem if it was that easy if one had clearly a higher value than the other its not that simple to justify their actions by concluding they had saved more lives.
    We do not have the power to decide whose life is important and whose isn't. An organ donor who donated to people who had scintillating ideas and were determined to make their ideas a reality. This organ donor supported these people in any way possible and found pride knowing that he was granting life to such positive people. Once his benefactors had abandoned their mission he would kill them retrieve his organ and implant it into someone else who had a promising idea. This man was playing God he had no right to take a life under the illusion he was giving it in the first place. He had no right to decide who's life was more important than the other.
    In conclusion all I'm saying is there is no way I can balance those lives. I cannot confidently say 5 lives are greater than 1 or vice versa. This scenario has percolated to the very depths of my brain and I cannot find a satisfactory answer in any way I try to wrap my brain around it. I am completely clueless as to how to handle this situation and I stand before you declaring that I do not know what I would do.
    -Kwesi Twum

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  57. At first when i saw this question, i thought i would push the fat man because like Clementine and Vusi, i thought five lives would be worth more than just one (that's what my instinct told me to do).
    However, after much thought, i decided that doing nothing is the best option. i would just let the situation handle itself. it may hurt me a little bit however it's not like i killed anyone (for all you know 10 other people may have passed by the situation before me).
    And then i also had a third option, which was to sacrifice myself if i was fat;this is what society would have expected me to do. therefore i think society has a very huge influence on morality and most of the decisions we take.

    (sorry about my lateness)

    Lianne

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  58. hmmm...sacrifice?.....Lianne think about it?....thats good of you but what if you aint FAT enough as the other guy are you sure that its going to stop the train or kill you plus the 5 others.....seriously i have come to a conclusion that my actions there or then will be impulsive depending on my instinct and so whether what i do is right or wrong as society would SAY....i am not influenced by it to cloud my judgement...then and my decision making is based towards my actions not towards what someone states as RIGHT...so forgive me but either way we are right and wrong in this case and soooo.....go your best option (in my case pushing the fat man) and please note i have no hate or anything towards them.

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  59. personally i don't care what society thinks but if you look at it we are all scared of being criticized or blamed. from my stand point i would do what i think is right and not what society thinks is right. i would still push the fat guy.

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  60. Vusi, i agree with your comment to deborah. Society beleives that what they think is right is what should prevail. really, what if society's definition of 'right' is actually wrong. should we all go down with it? i dn't think so!

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