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The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge?: A Philosophical Conundrum

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The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge?: A Philosophical Conundrum Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A trolley is careering out of control. Up ahead are five workers. On a spur to the right stands a single individual. And you're a bystander holding a switch that could divert the trolley. Should you let events unfold and watch as the trolley plows into the five? Or intervene — pull the switch, killing the one? This ethical conundrum — based on British philosopher Philippa Foot's 1967 thought experiment, the Trolley Problem — has inspired decades of lively argument around the world. Simple, provocative, even a little whimsical, it's a perfect conversation starter.

Now Thomas Cathcart, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, brings his sharp intelligence, quirky humor, and gift for popularizing philosophy to the Trolley Problem. Framing the issue as a possible crime that is to be tried in the Court of Public Opinion, Cathcart explores right and wrong, philosophy and ethics, intuition and logic, and more. The book is short but meaty, a lighthearted, informative, and completely compelling approach to thinking about big issues. There's the prosecutor's argument, and that of the defense. A professor's analysis, a brief from a bishop, a psychologist's opinion, and what the jury has to say. And along the way we learn about the Utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham, Kant's limits of reason, St. Thomas Aquinas's fascinating Principle of Double Effect, and WWND (What would Nietzsche do?).

So the question is: Would you — should you — pull the switch?

Review:

"Unflaggingly engaging, witty, and completely true to the underlying philosophical issues." Robert Paul Wolff, author of About Philosophy

Review:

"Stop! Before you throw anyone off the bridge or under the bus, grab this witty, intelligent, and fast-paced treatise on ethical reasoning and chuckle your way to fresh moral insight. With Tom Cathcart as guide, you'll discover the pleasure of ethics without the sermon."Marvin M. Ellison, ethicist and author of Making Love Just: Sexual Ethics for Perplexing Times

Review:

"Cathcart's probing exploration of the complex nuances of moral reasoning takes you on an intellectual journey both stimulating and educational. This riveting little book is grounded, relevant, and fun. If you enjoy wrestling with ethical challenges, it's a must read." Gregory Stock, author, The Book of Questions

Review:

"Clang, clang, clang goes the trolley problem! Join Tom Cathcart on a wild ride through the various permutations of this philosophical puzzle, as he picks up such disparate passengers as Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Aquinas, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Peter Singer along the way. While there may be blood on the tracks, Cathcart will guide you to a thought-provoking final stop." Tim Madigan, Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. John Fisher College and columnist, Philosophy Now Magazine

About the Author

Thomas Cathcart graduated from Harvard with a degree in philosophy, studied theology at the University of Chicago, and embarked on a “checkered career” (his words) from college teaching to hospice management until, at the age of 67, he started his writing life by coauthoring Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar with Daniel Klein. Mr. Cathcart and his wife live in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780761175131
Subtitle:
A Philosophical Conundrum
Author:
Cathcart, Thomas
Publisher:
Workman Publishing Company
Subject:
Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Subject:
Philosophy | Ethics
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Edition Description:
Die-cut jacket with preprinted case
Publication Date:
20130910
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
144
Dimensions:
7 x 5 in

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The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge?: A Philosophical Conundrum Used Hardcover
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Product details 144 pages Workman Publishing - English 9780761175131 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Unflaggingly engaging, witty, and completely true to the underlying philosophical issues." Robert Paul Wolff, author of About Philosophy
"Review" by , "Stop! Before you throw anyone off the bridge or under the bus, grab this witty, intelligent, and fast-paced treatise on ethical reasoning and chuckle your way to fresh moral insight. With Tom Cathcart as guide, you'll discover the pleasure of ethics without the sermon."Marvin M. Ellison, ethicist and author of Making Love Just: Sexual Ethics for Perplexing Times
"Review" by , "Cathcart's probing exploration of the complex nuances of moral reasoning takes you on an intellectual journey both stimulating and educational. This riveting little book is grounded, relevant, and fun. If you enjoy wrestling with ethical challenges, it's a must read." Gregory Stock, author, The Book of Questions
"Review" by , "Clang, clang, clang goes the trolley problem! Join Tom Cathcart on a wild ride through the various permutations of this philosophical puzzle, as he picks up such disparate passengers as Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Aquinas, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Peter Singer along the way. While there may be blood on the tracks, Cathcart will guide you to a thought-provoking final stop." Tim Madigan, Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. John Fisher College and columnist, Philosophy Now Magazine
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