October 9, 2013
The Tracks of Dilemma
The moral difference between Camilla and Bob’s situation is that one has a choice while the other one does not. Both of these characters are playing the role of “god” which brings in the ethical principle of divine command theory. This circumstance could also have the ethical principle of egoism because they are both making decisions based on their own self-interest to have a peace of mind. Camilla chooses to push the man onto the tracks to slow the train down in time for the other five workers to survive, when she could have easily walked away and pretended as if nothing happened. Bob, on the other hand, has no choice because no matter what he does, the outcome will still be the same. Therefore, with that said, he believes that saving five lives to one is the best result in this scenario. However, if you really want to argue about it, Bob and Camilla’s actions both not guaranteed. The man that Camilla pushed may not be enough to slow down the train and the lever that Bob pulled could have had technical difficulties causing the ending result to change. Most people would think that Bob’s actions are more permissible because, he did not physically take someone’s life.
Both Bob and Camilla are playing the role of “god” because they are interfering with the worker’s natural fate. They are both making choices on who gets to live and who gets to die, where not everyone can be saved. They are also making decisions based on their own self-interest. If Bob were to walk away from the scene he would have to live with a bad conscience that he let all those men die, same with Camilla. They both acted upon instinct for their own peace of mind.
An argument people would likely bring up is that both Bob and Camilla’s actions is not guaranteed. When Camilla decided to push the man onto the track, it could easily not be enough to slow down the train in time for the other five...