Rosemary Bowler’s “After The Fat Man: What We Can Learn from the Trolley Problem”
Tuesday, January 30, 2018Time 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Rosemary Bowler | After The Fat Man: What We Can Learn from the ‘Trolley Problem’
Tuesdays, January 9, 16, 23, 30 & February 6 & 13, 2018 | 10:00am | Woman’s Club Room | $150/series of six
A runaway trolley is racing toward five men who are tied to the track. Unless the trolley is stopped, it will kill all five men. You are on a footbridge overlooking the track. Near you on the bridge is a chubby man. If you heave him over the side, he will fall on the track and although he will die, his bulk will stop the trolley, saving five lives. What do you do?
This is the thought experiment that has launched a thousand discussions and doctoral dissertations. It is more than a philosopher’s armchair problem and has many practical, legal, and moral implications.
Would you push the Fat Man off the bridge?
Who’s in charge here – you or your neurons?
Should actions be judged by consequences or by intentions?
Is there – should there be – a universal moral code?
How necessary is evil for the existence of good?
Such questions baffle moral philosophers, neuroscientists, psychologists, and other thinkers (like you!) and are just a few that will be examined in this course. The answers to most are likely to be, “It all depends” or “It’s more complicated than that.” Join the discussion and exercise those neurons.
Although this course develops some topics presented last year in The Fat Man and the Trolley: Moral Conundrums, it is a stand-alone course and has no prerequisites, other than curiosity and willingness to grapple with challenging ideas. Registration is limited to 20 participants.