„I pull this lever and suddenly it’s not my problem anymore“


Damn. That’s the politician way of thinking!!!


If we keep doubling, will I eventually be a person on the tracks? There are a finite number of people, so eventually I would be, right? So, passing the buck would be equivalent to handing my fate to a stranger.

OTOH, if there are an infinite number of people, then this thought experiment is creating people out of thin air. Do these imaginary people’s rhetorical lives even matter?

Either way, it seems better to kill 1 person at the start.


What is the base case for this?


Choosing the second option will trap an infinite people for eternity in this problem, because it would never stop


You should only be released once someone decides to let all of their track people die.


Oh I promise you it’ll stop, just with a greater death toll. It probably wouldn’t take that long to stop either.


There is one person in danger.

Now I pull the lever.

Now there are two _______


person in dangers


I’m afraid you failed the wug test, or rather one of many wugs test.


Well that’s just GREAT. Now we’re all out of memory.


Someone needs to stop tying people to those train tracks or this trolley problem will never go away.


I wouldn’t decide until I find out what the other person in front of me’s already decided, and I’d trust they’d do the same.


To me this basically says are you the kind of person to deal with a problem or pass it on to someone else


It doesn’t seem like the problem in question is yours to begin with though. Maybe the train will get stopped or people will get released.


I don’t have to be a soldier on anyone’s ethical recursion war, so since the default position is set to kill 1 person, that gets done by the problem itself and the whole thing is solved without me having to do anything.

As a further bonus, now the lever people on the next branches are free to get out of the levels and go release the other prisoners.


Napkin math, from the last time I saw this:

I’ve been thinking about this. I estimate a few people per 1000 would do an atrocity for no reason if they were guaranteed no consequences, and the deaths if the switch is pulled are 2^(n-1) for the nth switch. The expected deaths will cross 1 somewhere in the high single-digits, then (since it’s outcome*chance), so the death minimising strategy is actually to pull yours if the chain is at least that long.

Edit: This assumes the length of the chain is variable but finite, and the trolley stops afterwards. If it’s infinite obviously you pull the switch.


Could you elaborate what you are analysing here? If I dont misinterpret the model, the option where you dont double the victims minimizes deaths every time.


Ah, but then you’re giving the opportunity to the next guy to kill even more, if he wants. Most people obviously won’t want to do that, but a rare few will, and the body count gets so big so fast that it only takes a few switches before that’s a bad risk.

I was expecting a bigger number of switches, but I guess that’s just another example of humans being bad at tracking the consequences of large quantities.


But if you assume that such a person exists, then it is inevitable that someone will pull the switch. The very best case is that such a person is immediately after you. Therefore, the only minimizing choice is to kill however many people you have.


Oh, I see. Yes, the context here was that we assume all possible chain lengths. If it’s infinite the death-minimising strategy is obviously to pull it, and if your switch is the only one you obviously don’t. The question was where it changes from one to the other.

I’ll edit a clarification in.


Makes me wonder what happens when the number of people tied to the tracks exceeds rhe number of people currently alive. Should be around the 33rd lever.


I think you’re on the right track.


Half-pull the lever so that the points get stuck midway between the two tracks. That should derail the trolley. Someone could conceivably still get hurt, but it improves everyone’s chances.

(What? You mean it isn’t a literal trolley that has to obey the laws of physics? Damn.)


News next day, 10 dead in derailment.


Ten baby puppies to be exact


Philosophy problems vs all real world problems


This is a screenshot from here


I did it and it was fun but the one in the post wasn’t there and neither does the font and layout fit.


Depends on what I know about the other lever pullers. This is basically limit poker when you’re the big blind.

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