Originally posted by lemondrop
a friend is walking down some railroad track unaware that a train is approaching
on another track are two strangers
you could save your friend by diverting the train
but it would kill the two strangers
what would you do?
A clean and uncomplicated variant on the Trolley Problem. I don't know what I would do.
I think based on only the information given, there are two moral questions raised. The first is whether an act of commission (in this case, diverting the train) is in itself
morally equivalent, morally better, or morally worse than not taking action. I think that they are morally equivalent.
The second is whether letting one die to avoid the death of two is morally justified by friendship with the one. I don't think it is, but I would definitely be torn.
It might depend on the strength of the relationship, such as marriage, parent/child, etc. Having made a personal lifetime commitment to the well being of another, which is itself morally permissible, might control.