Playing with Trolleys: Intuitions About the Permissibility of Aggregation

  title={Playing with Trolleys: Intuitions About the Permissibility of Aggregation},
  author={Mark Kelman and Tamar Admati Kreps},
  journal={Experimental Studies eJournal},
We explore when experimental subjects think aggregation across persons - deciding that some parties should be worse off, so that others might gain more, compared to an alternative option - is permissible through subjects' responses to trolley problem vignettes. Two classic vignettes are: (1) whether to divert a runaway trolley on to a spur track, killing one, to save multiple potential victims on a main track, and (2) whether to push an overweight person off a bridge to block the trolley from… Expand
Which Losses Do We Impose on Some to Benefit Others
Those who have studied the moral intuitions displayed in responding to Trolley Problems have focused on subjects’ willingness to cause the death of one party to avert multiple deaths. Here, weExpand
If You're Going to Do Wrong, At Least Do It Right: Considering Two Moral Dilemmas at the Same Time Promotes Moral Consistency
This work studies how people reconcile conflicting moral intuitions by juxtaposing two versions of classic moral problems: the trolley problem and the footbridge problem, and suggests that when required to choose between two harmful actions, people prefer the action that saves more lives, despite its being more aversive. Expand
The means/side-effect distinction in moral cognition: A meta-analysis
A meta-analysis of both published and unpublished studies found that while there is an overall small difference between moral judgments of means and byproducts, the mean effect size is primarily moderated by whether the outcome is brought about by personal contact, which typically involves the use of personal force. Expand
Switching Away from Utilitarianism: The Limited Role of Utility Calculations in Moral Judgment
This work suggests that people show non-utilitarian judgments in domains as diverse as healthcare decisions, income distributions, and penal laws, and shows two separate deviations from utilitarianism in such cases. Expand
Trolley dilemma in the sky: Context matters when civilians and cadets make remotely piloted aircraft decisions
An RPA simulation that varied mission contexts (firefighter, military and surveillance as a control condition) and the social “value” of a potential victim found that participants were less likely to make the common utilitarian choice, when the value of the one increased, especially in the military context. Expand
Overdiagnosis, ethics, and trolley problems: why factors other than outcomes matter—an essay by Stacy Carter
  • S. Carter
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • British Medical Journal
  • 2017
Evidence and intuitions from famous thought experiments could explain some peoples’ willingness to accept the harms of overdiagnosis, but other factors may feel more important to them. Expand
A Modified Trolley Problem Procedure for Studying Dilemmic Decisions


Playing with Trolleys (I): Intuitions About Aggregation
We explore when experimental subjects are likely to think aggregation across persons – making a decision that some parties should bear losses so that others might gain more – is permissible and whenExpand
What Does Matter? The Case for Killing the Trolley Problem (Or Letting it Die)
For the past forty years, a significant portion of nonconsequentialist moral philosophy has been devoted to refining our moral intuitions about the harms to others we may or may not causally bringExpand
Can Contractualism Save Us from Aggregation?
This paper examines the efforts of contractualists to develop an alternative to aggregation to govern our duty not to harm (duty to rescue) others. I conclude that many of the moral principlesExpand
Moral Realism and the Heuristics Debate
There has been substantial debate in the legal academy centered on the questions of whether universal moral intuitions exist and, if so, whether these intuitions have a privileged normative status, aExpand
Turning the Trolley
The trolley problem is by now thoroughly familiar, but it pays to begin with a description of its origins. In “The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect,” Philippa Foot describedExpand
The nonconsequentialist revival in tort theory has focused almost exclusively on one issue: showing that the rules governing compensation for “wrongful” acts reflect corrective justice rather thanExpand
A Dissociation Between Moral Judgments and Justifications
To what extent do moral judgments depend on conscious reasoning from explicitly understood principles? We address this question by investigating one particular moral principle, the principle of theExpand
Pushing moral buttons: The interaction between personal force and intention in moral judgment
A method for controlling for people's real-world expectations in decisions involving potentially unrealistic hypothetical dilemmas is introduced and the influence of personal force on moral judgment is demonstrated, distinguishing it from physical contact and spatial proximity. Expand
Moral judgments about altruistic self-sacrifice: When philosophical and folk intuitions clash
Altruistic self-sacrifice is rare, supererogatory, and not to be expected of any rational agent; but, the possibility of giving up one's life for the common good has played an important role in moralExpand
The Demandingness of Scanlon’s Contractualism*
Utilitarianism has long faced the objection that it is unreasonably demanding. One of the reasons why Kantian contractualism has been seen as an appealing alternative is that it seems to be able toExpand