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Taking LifeThree Theories on the Ethics of Killing$
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Torbjorn Tannsjo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225575.001.0001

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The Trolley Cases

The Trolley Cases

Chapter:
(p.53) Chapter 3 The Trolley Cases
Source:
Taking Life
Author(s):

Torbjörn Tännsjö

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225575.003.0003

This chapter goes in search of thought experiments that elicit a consistent pattern of responses, irrespective of one’s traditions or cultural background. Since it is believed that the three standard trolley cases (the Switch, the Footbridge, and the Loop) elicit precisely such a response, This chapter discusses these three cases in relation to deontology, the moral rights theory, and utilitarianism. How do we react intuitively to each of the cases? Do our intuitive responses survive cognitive psychotherapy (our knowledge about their origin)? The Sanctity-of-Life Doctrine and utilitarianism can both explain our considered intuitions about the cases. Kantianism and the moral rights theory, on the other hand, are at variance with them. No intuition about the Footbridge survives cognitive psychotherapy, with all our intuitions in relation to it debunked.

Keywords:   Joshua Greene, Selim Berker, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Frances Kamm, the Switch, the Footbridge, the Loop, principle of double effect

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