AUT Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences
6 Aug 2020 508 Respondents
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By Amanda Lees
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Vx CASE: The Runaway Train

Vx CASE: The Runaway Train

The following is an adaptation of a very famous philosophical thought exercise called The Trolley Problem; our activity’s called The Runaway Train:

Go here for some background context:


Here's our version:

An out-of-control train is heading down a rail track, ahead of which are five hikers unaware of the looming threat. On the bank where you’re standing is a switch that, if flicked, will send the trolley onto another track on which just one person is walking. There is no way to warn the hikers.

If you do nothing, five people die; flick the switch and just one person will die.

To make things worse, the five hikers are strangers - but the single person on the other track is a friend of yours.

What is the right thing to do?

Please think through the sceanrio carefully and use your experience of previous practice cases to demonstrate your thinking skills.

The database includes responses from students in semester 1 so there are already lots of responses to learn from.

The results will be fascinating!!

It is proposed that you flick the switch to send the train to the track where the single person (your friend) is walking

Key Concepts