And because it’s come up not once, or even twice, but three times this week, here’s the cold open of Stargate Atlantis that talks about (and pokes delightful fun at) Phillipa Foot’s trolley problem.
Also, I’ve determined that Sarah Connor is the ultimate consequentialist. Of what particular type, I haven’t yet decided (although I’m leaning towards ethical altruism).
Edited to add:
Since the video keeps disappearing from the internet, here’s a transcript.
Rodney: Let me ask you a question. Say there’s a runaway train. It’s hurtling out of control towards ten people standing in the middle of the tracks. The only way to save those people is to flip a switch — send the train down another set of tracks. The only problem is there is a baby in the middle of those tracks.
Teyla: Why would anyone leave a baby in harm’s way like that?
Rodney: I don’t know. That’s not the point. Look, it’s an ethical dilemma. Look, Katie Brown brought it up over dinner the other night. The question is: is it appropriate to divert the train and kill the one baby to save the ten people?
Ronon: Wouldn’t the people just see the train coming and move?
Rodney: No. No, they wouldn’t see it.
Ronon: Why not?
Rodney: Well … (he sighs) … Look, I don’t know — say they’re blind.
Teyla: All of them?
Rodney: Yes, all of them.
Ronon: Then why don’t you just call out and tell them to move out of the way?
Rodney: Well, because they can’t hear you.
John: What, they’re deaf too?
(Rodney throws him a look)
John: How fast is the train going?
Rodney: Look, the speed doesn’t matter!
John: Well, sure it does. If it’s going slow enough, you could outrun it and shove everyone to the side.
Ronon: Or better yet, go get the baby.
Rodney: For God’s sake! I was just trying to …