The Near-Then-Far Case Poll
By S. Matthew Liao

Here’s a case from Frances Kamm which we have discussed previously:

The Near-Then-Far Case: You are passing near a child drowning in a pond, a child whom you are able to help. But, through no fault of yours, all of the following are true: You do not know that you are near the person, you do not know that he is in danger, and you do not know that you can help. After you are far away, you learn that you were near him when he was in danger, and you could have helped. You can still save him from that danger, in the way you could have when near, by putting $500 in a device that will activate a machine to scoop him out (377-78).

The Overseas Case Poll
By S. Matthew Liao

The Overseas Case is from Peter Singer, as is the

The Pond Case: I am walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning in it. If I wade in and pull the child out, my $500 suit will be ruined.

See, e.g., Singer, P. Practical Ethics. 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

These cases are here by popular demand (John Alexander and Tom Douglas). Comments on these cases are welcome here. See also Kamm Chapter 11 for some discussions of these cases. Happy voting.

The Switches and Skates Case:

By sheer accident, an empty trolley, nobody aboard, is starting to roll down a certain track. Now, if you DO NOTHING ABOUT the situation, your FIRST OPTION [sic], then, in a couple of minutes, it will run over and kill six innocents who, through no fault of their own, are trapped down the line. (So, on your first option, you’ll let the six die).

The Loop Case Poll
By S. Matthew Liao

Here’s another case on which you can vote. It came from Judith Jarvis Thomson’s 1985 article “The Trolley Problem.”

The Loop Case: A trolley is headed toward five people, and it can be redirected onto another track where one innocent bystander sits. However, the track loops back toward the five. Hence, if it were not the case that the trolley would hit the one and grind to a halt, the trolley would go around and kill the five. Assume also that if five were not present, the trolley would not loop toward the one, but would continue harmlessly down the track (Kamm, p. 92).

The Kamm Poll
By S. Matthew Liao

Introducing…the Kamm Poll! As it is well known, Kamm tests and develops her theories and principles by means of intuitive judgments about cases. As we read Intricate Ethics, if there is a particular case of Kamm’s regarding which you may have a different intuition than Kamm, or if you just wish to see what other people think about the case, please post details for the case here including the page reference to her book. We will then try to run a poll on that particular case.