A train is racing toward five men, tied to the track. Unless the train is stopped, it will inevitably kill all five men.
If a fat man is pushed onto the line, although he will die, his body will stop the train, saving five lives. Would you kill the fat man?
As David Edmonds shows, answering the question is far more complex, and important, than it first appears. In fact, how we answer it tells us a great deal about right and wrong.
©2014 David Edmonds (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
on the complexity of moral decisions and how rationality--and to a surprising degree--emotion play roles in our everyday ethics. I teach a class based in Theories Of Morality, and my classes discuss such questions on a daily basis, including the one that gives this book its title. Since Kohlberg and Gilligan began their search for a testable rubric for morality (both included gender as a factor in moral decisions), ethics scientists have struggled to define what a "moral act" is and how exactly we arrive at the decisions we make when ethics are at stake. Edmonds does a fine job here of furthering the debate and clarifying many of its ongoing issues. This book would go very well with John Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis (the title has a lot to do with ethics and how we decide, so the title is a bit misleading) & his second book The Righteous Mind--I highly recommend both be take with Would You Kill The Fat Man.
I liked exploring the idea of morality and how varied that can be, even within one culture. Though, I don't feel the book came to any concrete conclusions, nor should it. Morality is both social and personally dictated and hard to predict.
While I enjoyed Would You Kill The Fat Man, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to others unless, I knew they had a tolerance and understanding of academia. There were times when I felt all the theories were getting just too ridiculous and too convoluted and almost felt like turning it off. But, I stuck with it and, it does end up pulling together a lot of the various aspects and theories.
Gareth's performance was expressive and interesting, highlighting the humour.
About half to, three quaters through, it was all starting to seem very nonsensical. Like wading through a quagmire. However, if you stick with it, it does get better again.
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