[extropy-chat] frozen in fire

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Mon Jan 22 02:36:47 UTC 2007

Robert Bradbury wrote:
> I don't know whether to be more aghast at the fact that this seems to have
> migrated into a contemporary ethical problem from Oxford to Harvard (don't
> distribute ones refuse unless one knows how to clean it up!) or
> "educational
> systems should distribute tradeoff frameworks".

Actually, the problem was formulated by Philippa Ruth Foot (either in
Oxford or at UCLA). But it is much older, the "Plank of Carneades" is an
antique version of it. The point is not so much to "solve" the trolley
problem as to use it to figure out how humans think when they plan moral
behavior. Variants have been used to demonstrate various inconsistencies
and biases in our thinking.

> Anders, are you content to sit in ivory towers at Oxford while people die?

Yup. (as we all know, ethicists do not have to be moral :-)

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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