Death to fatties 

Out moral framework is said to set us apart from other species. In the book: “would you kill the fat man”, there are scenarios of diabolical choices that reveal how we as humans make moral decisions. 

There’s discussion around the limits of utilitarianism and much is made of intention.

I asked my two kids what they would do in the scenarios shown. 

A train is running down a track and will kill 1 person or 5 people. My daughter pointed at the 1 person.  My son said without hesitation: I’d stop the train? This caused me to laugh out loud, but yes I take his point. 

I’m the second of the scenarios. There are still 5 people tied to the track but the only way to stop the train is to push a fat man off a bridge. This introduces the concept that you intend to kill him to save 5 lives. 

My daughter nodded yes, kill the fat man without hesitation. My son frowned and chewed his fingers. I dunno he said, what should I do? I replied: there’s no right answer… To which he seemed horrified. What there’s no right answer?! – no I said it’s a discussion point and people all feel differently.

This was fascinating news to him. 



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