PHIL 181 - Lecture 15 - Empirically-informed Responses

Lecture 15 - Empirically-informed Responses


The Trolley Problem, as discussed in the last lecture, is the problem of reconciling an apparent inconsistency in our moral intuitions: that while it is permissible to turn the runaway trolley to a track thus killing one to save five, it is impermissible to push a fat man onto the trolley track, killing him to save the five. In this lecture, Professor Gendler reviews several “non-classic” responses to this problem, each of which aims to bring the two cases, and hence our apparently conflicting judgments about them, together. The three responses considered differ not only in their conclusions, but also in their methodologies, illustrating how different techniques might be brought to bear on philosophical puzzles.



Sunstein, “Moral Heuristics”

Greene, “The cognitive neuroscience of moral judgment”

Sommers, “Trolley Problems”

Cushman, “The Psychology of Dilemmas and the Philosophy of Morality”

Course Media





Low Bandwidth Video

mov [100MB]

High Bandwidth Video

mov [500MB]