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InvisibleRationalEgo
Principium Individuationis


Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 2,071
Loc: Boston
Solve this lifeboat scenario!!!
    #11660268 - 12/16/09 04:52 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

This is from he American Philosophical Association.

Consider the following case:

On Twin Earth, a brain in a vat is at the wheel of a runaway trolley. There are only two options that the brain can take: the right side of the fork in the track or the left side of the fork. There is no way in sight of derailing or stopping the trolley and the brain is aware of this, for the brain knows trolleys. The brain is causally hooked up to the trolley such that the brain can determine the course which the trolley will take.

On the right side of the track there is a single railroad worker, Jones,who will definitely be killed if the brain steers the trolley to the right. If the railman on the right lives, he will go on to kill five men for the sake of killing them, but in doing so will inadvertently save the lives of thirty orphans (one of the five men he will kill is planning to destroy a bridge that the orphan's bus will be crossing later that night). One of the orphans that will be killed would have grown up to become a tyrant who would make good utilitarian men do bad things. Another of the orphans would grow up to become G.E.M. Anscombe, while a third would invent the pop-top can.

If the brain in the vat chooses the left side of the track, the trolley will definitely hit and kill a railman on the left side of the track, "Leftie" and will hit and destroy ten beating hearts on the track that could (and would) have been transplanted into ten patients in the local hospital that will die without donor hearts. These are the only hearts available, and the brain is aware of this, for the brain knows hearts. If the railman on the left side of the track lives, he too will kill five men, in fact the same five that the railman on the right would kill. However, "Leftie" will kill the five as an unintended consequence of saving ten men: he will inadvertently kill the five men rushing the ten hearts to the local hospital for transplantation. A further result of "Leftie's" act would be that the busload of orphans will be spared. Among the five men killed by "Leftie" are both the man responsible for putting the brain at the controls of the trolley, and the author of this example. If the ten hearts and "Leftie" are killed by the trolley, the ten prospective heart-transplant patients will die and their kidneys will be used to save the lives of twenty kidney-transplant patients, one of whom will grow up to cure cancer, and one of whom will grow up to be Hitler. There are other kidneys and dialysis machines available, however the brain does not know kidneys, and this is not a factor.

Assume that the brain's choice, whatever it turns out to be, will serve as an example to other brains-in-vats and so the effects of his decision will be amplified. Also assume that if the brain chooses the right side of the fork, an unjust war free of war crimes will ensue, while if the brain chooses the left fork, a just war fraught with war crimes will result. Furthermore, there is an intermittently active Cartesian demon deceiving the brain in such a manner that the brain is never sure if it is being deceived.

QUESTION: What should the brain do?

:rofl2:


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Offlinethomasbe
biased!
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Registered: 05/30/09
Posts: 174
Last seen: 7 years, 6 months
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11660395 - 12/16/09 06:12 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

the brain should kill itself due to mass confusion


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OfflineRainman420
Music is my Life
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Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 1,267
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Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: thomasbe]
    #11660455 - 12/16/09 07:04 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

The brain already knows the decision it must make. It is subconcious and does not require in depth thinking in this situation.


--------------------
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.


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InvisibleRationalEgo
Principium Individuationis


Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 2,071
Loc: Boston
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Rainman420]
    #11660694 - 12/16/09 09:35 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Just to be clear, I posted this to make a mockery out of supposedly 'philisophical' lifeboat scenarios. :smirk:


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InvisibleIcelander
The Minstrel in the Gallery
Male


Registered: 03/15/05
Posts: 95,368
Loc: underbelly
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11660720 - 12/16/09 09:44 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

As a brain I would know that all choices may have unintended and unforeseeable consequences. My brain being fully aware of this would probably let my body reactions choose which way to go in that last split second. Then I would take the relief, at having that over, to the ice cream shop and get something really yummy.


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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InvisibleRationalEgo
Principium Individuationis


Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 2,071
Loc: Boston
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Icelander]
    #11660820 - 12/16/09 10:15 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

A brain in a jar cannot enjoy ice cream. :sorry:


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InvisibleIcelander
The Minstrel in the Gallery
Male


Registered: 03/15/05
Posts: 95,368
Loc: underbelly
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11660851 - 12/16/09 10:27 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Damn and I was really on a roll up to that point.:mad2:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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OfflineLion
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Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Icelander]
    #11661039 - 12/16/09 11:16 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Icelander said:
Damn and I was really on a roll up to that point.:mad2:


We all get intellectual brain-freeze from time to time.


--------------------
“Strengthened by contemplation and study,
I will not fear my passions like a coward.
My body I will give to pleasures,
to diversions that I’ve dreamed of,
to the most daring erotic desires,
to the lustful impulses of my blood, without
any fear at all, for whenever I will—
and I will have the will, strengthened
as I’ll be with contemplation and study—
at the crucial moments I’ll recover
my spirit as was before: ascetic.”


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InvisibleIcelander
The Minstrel in the Gallery
Male


Registered: 03/15/05
Posts: 95,368
Loc: underbelly
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Lion]
    #11661153 - 12/16/09 11:51 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Brain freeze and no ice cream. Life really is unfair and now I have the proof.:hissyfit:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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OfflineGrapefruit
Freak in the forest
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Registered: 05/09/08
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Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Icelander]
    #11661236 - 12/16/09 12:13 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Oh man I hate philosophical crap like this. Like that one about whether the ship is the same ship if you replace one plank. No, It's a slightly different fucking ship but who gives a fuck. The one about the tree making sounds in a wood aswell. Why the fuck would it not make a sound if no one was there to hear it, those problems are straight out retarded.


--------------------
Little left in the way of energy; or the way of love, yet happy to entertain myself playing mental games with the rest of you freaks until the rivers run backwards. 

"Chat your fraff
Chat your fraff
Just chat your fraff
Chat your fraff"


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InvisibleRationalEgo
Principium Individuationis


Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 2,071
Loc: Boston
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Grapefruit]
    #11661250 - 12/16/09 12:16 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Grapefruit said:
Oh man I hate philosophical crap like this. Like that one about whether the ship is the same ship if you replace one plank. No, It's a slightly different fucking ship but who gives a fuck. The one about the tree making sounds in a wood aswell. Why the fuck would it not make a sound if no one was there to hear it, those problems are straight out retarded.




Agreed! :thumbup:


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OfflineGrapefruit
Freak in the forest
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Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11661280 - 12/16/09 12:22 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

A freind of mine in college had a two page essay to write about the ship and the plank, how the hell do you write two pages about something as lame as that anyway? :lol:


--------------------
Little left in the way of energy; or the way of love, yet happy to entertain myself playing mental games with the rest of you freaks until the rivers run backwards. 

"Chat your fraff
Chat your fraff
Just chat your fraff
Chat your fraff"


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InvisibleRationalEgo
Principium Individuationis


Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 2,071
Loc: Boston
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Grapefruit]
    #11661284 - 12/16/09 12:23 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

If that's what passes as philosophy coursework these days, we are in dire need of intellectual help as a species. :shrug:


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OfflineGrapefruit
Freak in the forest
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Registered: 05/09/08
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Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11661319 - 12/16/09 12:31 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

For real. Most of college is so easy and dull I really struggle bothering like in physics my class spent 3 hours waving a slinky about on the floor in different ways to show them how waves work, I mean come on. They teach kids stuff so slowly these days it's boring, requires very little intellectual/creative thought and in dire need of a revamp. Maybe it's just the UK syllabus I dunno.


--------------------
Little left in the way of energy; or the way of love, yet happy to entertain myself playing mental games with the rest of you freaks until the rivers run backwards. 

"Chat your fraff
Chat your fraff
Just chat your fraff
Chat your fraff"


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Offlineandrewss
precariously aggrandized


Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 8,722
Loc: ohio
Last seen: 2 years, 4 months
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Grapefruit]
    #11661950 - 12/16/09 02:34 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

liek yeah thats dum!


--------------------
Jesus loves you.


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OfflineRainman420
Music is my Life
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Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 1,267
Last seen: 3 months, 16 days
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Grapefruit]
    #11663727 - 12/16/09 07:32 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Grapefruit said:
For real. Most of college is so easy and dull I really struggle bothering like in physics my class spent 3 hours waving a slinky about on the floor in different ways to show them how waves work, I mean come on. They teach kids stuff so slowly these days it's boring, requires very little intellectual/creative thought and in dire need of a revamp. Maybe it's just the UK syllabus I dunno.





You are totally right.  It is definitely not just the UK though.


--------------------
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.


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Offlineandrewss
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Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 8,722
Loc: ohio
Last seen: 2 years, 4 months
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: Rainman420]
    #11665120 - 12/16/09 10:54 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

How do you feel about Hobbes' fool rationalego? Just more silliness or is that less silly?


--------------------
Jesus loves you.


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OfflineBrainChemistry
Captain Obvious
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Registered: 06/20/07
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Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11665182 - 12/16/09 11:06 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

The questions I would have to ask are....

Did Hitler kill more people then cancer?

and

Would someone else have figured out how to cure cancer anyway, or did the cure die forever with that person?


--------------------
Word to your mom.


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Offlineshivas.wisdom
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Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 11,904
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Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11665868 - 12/17/09 01:13 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

RationalEgo said:
Quote:

Grapefruit said:
Oh man I hate philosophical crap like this. Like that one about whether the ship is the same ship if you replace one plank. No, It's a slightly different fucking ship but who gives a fuck. The one about the tree making sounds in a wood aswell. Why the fuck would it not make a sound if no one was there to hear it, those problems are straight out retarded.




Agreed! :thumbup:



What is so retarded about these, what exactly about them? Are all thought experiments retarded?- and if not what makes these ones so?

Einsein imagined scenarios where he could travel at the same speed of light- an impossible scenario that contained some type of insight. Is this different, and why?


--------------------


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InvisibledeCypher
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Registered: 02/10/08
Posts: 56,232
Re: Solve this lifeboat scenario!!! [Re: shivas.wisdom]
    #11665897 - 12/17/09 01:19 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Hilarious find.  This is why I dislike ethics.


--------------------
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.


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