The fault in our stars

from a friend

On a whim & and the advice of an author I follow I recently read this book http://amzn.com/0525478817 and it has a nice Philippa Foot trolley problem reference! I thought that was fun because not only is it a v.high quality young adult novel, it’s enormously popular (over a million copies in print).

We might not like the trolley problem, but it might still be interesting to see what non-phils do with it.

3 thoughts on “The fault in our stars

  1. Philippa took it as a bad representation of genuine moral reasoning; some of us have agreed that it is indeed not a good representation. Moral reasoning seldom, if ever, involves counting up human beings, etc.

    Oddly enough, people with asperger’s do like problems “of life” that can be settle by appealing to numbers and no much else.

    Of course, more has to be brought in, but most people, I think, opt for the higher number = the ones saved.

  2. Hm, I don’t think that’s a good criticism of trolley cases. For one thing, trolley problems as, say, Thomson and Kamm use them, address normative, moral questions, not descriptive questions about how people reason (although I can see how they might also be thought useful for the latter purpose). For a second, I think it’s plainly not true that “moral reasoning seldom, if ever, involves counting up human beings, etc.” Have you read the Stern Report on climate change? Any of John Broome’s work? (I suppose it’s arguable that Broome and Stern both have Asberger, but I doubt it.) Really, really important moral questions involve counting up deaths, incidents of disease, and the like, and some of the people who are best at reasoning about these questions do the necessary counting.

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