Child Solves Ethics Dilemma That Has Stumped Philosophers for Decades With a Simple but Hilarious Solution

October 17, 2017

You never quite know what to expect when it comes to children. This young boy was asked an ethics and philosophy question that has bewildered scholars for decades, and his response was quite unexpected.

The philosophical thought experiment that this boy was asked is the infamous “trolley problem.” The problem looks something like this:

There is a runaway trolley hurtling down the railroad tracks. On the tracks ahead, there are five people tied up and unable to move, and the trolley is headed right towards them. You are standing some distance away near a lever that is able to divert the trolley to another set of tracks. However, on this set of tracks, there is an unsuspecting worker and no means to warn him of the oncoming trolley.

You have two options: do nothing and let the trolley run over the five people tied to the tracks, or pull the lever and send the trolley into the unsuspecting worker.

There are many other variants of this dilemma as well, such as instead of a worker on the tracks, it is a child (or even your own child) playing on the tracks, or you can stop the train by pushing a fat man in front of the trolley. Or even a version where the fat man you push is the one who tied up the five people to the tracks.

Either way, it isn’t the happiest thought experiment in the world.

This “trolley problem” has been in the news recently as an issue that driverless cars might have to encounter in the real world. Does the car swerve to miss someone crossing the street, but endanger the lives of its occupants, oncoming traffic, or other pedestrians in the process?

In the case of this video, a father and son were playing with a toy train when something came up that reminded the dad about the classic “trolley problem.”

“Noah and I were playing with trains one day on the floor, and some wooden people fell out of his toy airplane and onto the track,” said the father. “I thought of the cable-car ethical dilemma and wondered what he would do. This is the result.”

Well, he sure solved the problem alright. Why not just have the train run everyone over? If there are no witnesses, then no one would know what happened, right? This is a genius solution. An evil genius solution, but a solution nonetheless.

In other news, this puzzle from Amazon has stumped the internet!

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