Basically, it’s a test to see how people respond to ethical issues.
A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are 5 people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you can flip a switch which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch?
Well, this is an interesting question. Do you let one die to save five? Ponder that for a few minutes… and then move on to the second part.
As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you – your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Should you proceed?
Well? If you decided it was ok for one to die to save five then what do you think about this one where you actually have to push the fat man? Is it different? What do you think?