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Trolley dilemma scenario using utilitarian ethics viewpoint

Utilitarianism is a theory that suggests that an action is morally right when that action produces more total utility for the group than any other alternative.

Applying this theory to this scenario, briefly summarize (in 100 words) this situation (attached file on the trolley dilemma), state which tracks you would choose to run over or avoid, and the rationale for your answer. Then discuss what your answer indicates about your embrace of the utility principle as your ethical standard.


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I am the engineer of a train that is out of control. As I approach a junction in the line I have the choice to either steer on to A track or B track. On the right track is a school bus that is stuck on the tracks. Inside are 50 school children. On the left track is one homeless man with his shoe stuck in the tracks. I have to turn left or right. Which track should I choose? The train cannot be stopped in time to avoid a collision so I must choose a track and by choosing the track I am choosing ...

Solution Summary

This solution evaluates a specific scenario, the trolley dilemma, from the ethical viewpoint of utilitarianism. Over 450 words of original text.