Utilitarianism: The Trolley Problem, By Immanuel Kant

817 Words 4 Pages
The trolley problem is a very important concept that philosophers explore. The trolley problem describes a situation that involves a trolley approaching five people that have been tied down to a track by some villain. As it happens you are standing right next to the switch that can divert the trolley onto another track. Sadly you do not have enough time to free them and save them. Unfortunately, the second track has one person tied down to it. What should you do? Save the five people and let the other person die or save the other person and let the other five die? Or not do anything at all? Jeremy Bentham an English philosopher and the founder of utilitarianism, would suggest that you should divert the trolley and save the five people, thus killing the other person. While Immanuel Kant a German deontological philosopher, would suggest to not …show more content…
Bentham explains, “ ...with respect to each individual, in regard to whom the tendency of it is good upon the whole...Take the balance; which, if on the side of pleasure, will give the general tendency of the act, with respect to the total number or community of individuals concerned.” The purpose of this objectivist view is to bring about the best possible outcome or consequence for all that are concerned. This view does not worry about how the outcome or consequence was brought about. Bentham explains what is known as his fundamental axiom, “it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.” According to Bentham, a utilitarian would obviously save as many lives as possible, which means saving the five people over the one person. For a utilitarian, this is the right decision morally. It does not matter how those lives were saved. Utilitarianism values the actions outcome rather than the action itself because it aims to gain the greatest happiness or

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