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conchis comments on The Third Alternative - Less Wrong

55 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 06 May 2007 11:47PM

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Comment author: conchis 07 May 2007 12:44:48PM 11 points [-]

I have a suspicion, based on a limited degree of personal experience, that the common philosophical practice of coming up with thought experiments, may tend to promote this sort of fallacious reasoning. Such "experiments" often artificially force people into exclusive "would you do X or Y?" dilemmas, and anyone who says "well, actually... why wouldn't you do Z?" is promptly told that they're missing the point. All of this is fair enough within the bounds of the thought experiment, but if people start seeing real life in the same simplified terms, then that's something of a problem.

Comment author: pnrjulius 27 May 2012 03:19:55AM 3 points [-]

I agree. In real life, when the trolley is about to run over the five children, you stop the trolley. You don't flip a switch that moves the trolley over to one other child, much less toss a fat man off a footbridge. And if you can't stop the trolley, you try to find a way; you don't give up and pick the slightly-less-bad option.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 27 May 2012 03:56:06AM 10 points [-]

In my experience, in real life what most people do in a crisis is stand there and dither.

Comment author: BloodyShrimp 24 September 2013 04:54:14PM 3 points [-]

I used to do this, but the crises made it exceptionally difficult to get the checkerboard pattern right.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 September 2013 05:02:33PM 0 points [-]

Ba-dum-ching.

Comment author: Benquo 16 April 2015 10:01:01PM 5 points [-]

First you flip the switch, then you make an extraordinary effort to stop the trolley.