The Moral Sense Test
You are standing on an embankment above a train track watching a track-maintenance team do its work. Suddenly, you hear the sound of a train barreling down the tracks: the brakes have failed, and the train is heading straight for the six workers. Beside you is a lever; if you pull it, the train will be forced onto a side track and will glide to a halt, killing one of the six maintenance people working on the side track. You must make the decision to pull the lever to save five lives, knowing that if you do one man will be killed. Should you pull the lever?
In another version of this dilemma, the sixth worker is standing beside you on the embankment. The only way to stop the train, and save the lives of the five people on the track, is for you to push the man beside you down onto the track. By pushing him in front of the train and so killing him, you will slow it down enough to save the others. Should you push him?
To ponder this and other moral dilemmas, click here and take the test for a Harvard Study. Or click on the choices below. Listen to an NPR interview regarding moral choices here.