You are an inmate in a concentration camp. A sadistic guard is about to hang your son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. He says that if you don’t he will not only kill your son but some other innocent inmate as well. You don’t have any doubt that he means what he says. What should you do?
Car Affair You are an emergency worker that has just been called to the scene of an accident. When you arrive you see that the car belongs to your wife. Fearing the worst you rush over to see she is trapped in her car with another man. She sees you and although barely conscious, she manages to mouth the words “I’m sorry”… You don’t understand, but her look answers you question. The man next to her is her lover with whom she’s been having an affair. You reel back in shock, devastated by what her eyes have just told you. As you step back, the wreck in front of you comes into focus. You see your wife is seriously hurt and she needs attention straight away. Even if she gets attention there’s a very high chance she’ll die. You look at the seat next to her and see her lover. He’s bleeding heavily from a wound to the neck and you need to stem the flow of blood immediately. It will only take about 5 minutes to stop, but it will mean your wife will definitely die. If you tend to your wife however, the man will bleed to death despite the fact it could have been avoided. Who would you choose to work on?
To Spam or Not to Spam?
You are the network administrator for a rather large company. You have a young family and need your job to support them. As part of your responsibility as a network administrator is to monitor the emails for the organization. Usually this just means occasionally allow through emails for staff members that have been accidentally blocked by the spam filters. One day you get a helpdesk request from a staff member asking for an email to get released. Normally it’s standard procedure except this time the request has come from the wife of a very good friend of yours. You recognize the name on the helpdesk request so quickly attend to the problem. As part of the procedure you need to manually open up the email to ensure that it isn’t spam, so you do and you discover that it certainly isn’t spam. You find that it’s actually an email to your friends wife from her lover. You scan the rest of the contents of the email and there is no doubt that she has been
having an affair for some time now. You release the email, but you can’t decide what to do. You’re initial reaction is to call your friend up and tell him about the email, however you quickly realize that company policy is very strict about revealing the contents of confidential emails of staff members regardless of the contents and unless someone’s life is in immediate danger, under no circumstances are you permitted to reveal the information. In any case you know that revealing this information presents great risk, because even if you don’t do it directly, there is a good chance that the dots will be joined somewhere along the line and you will be found out. However you feel that by not telling you friend that you are aiding his wife get away with adultery and this troubles you greatly. What do you do?
A pregnant woman leading a group of people out of a cave on a coast is stuck in the mouth of that cave. In a short time high tide will be upon them, and unless she is unstuck, they will all be drowned except the woman, whose head is out of the cave. Fortunately, (or unfortunately,) someone has with him a stick of dynamite. There seems no way to get the pregnant woman loose without using the dynamite which will inevitably kill her; but if they do not use it everyone will drown. What should they do?
Mad Bomber A madman who has threatened to explode several bombs in crowded areas has been apprehended. Unfortunately, he has already planted the bombs and they are scheduled to go off in a short time. It is possible that hundreds of people may die. The authorities cannot make him divulge the location of the bombs by conventional methods. He refuses to say anything and requests a lawyer to protect his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. In exasperation, some high level official suggests torture. This would be illegal, of course, but the official thinks that it is nevertheless the right thing to do in this desperate situation. Do you agree? If you do, would it also be morally justifiable to torture the mad bomber’s innocent wife if that is the only way to make him talk? Why?
The Trolley A runaway trolley is heading down the tracks toward five workmen who will be killed if the trolley proceeds on its present course. Molly is on a footbridge over the tracks, in between the approaching trolley and the five workmen. Next to her on this footbridge is a stranger who happens to be very large.
If she does nothing the trolley will proceed, causing the deaths of the five workmen. The only way to save the lives of these
workmen is to push this stranger off the bridge and onto the tracks below, where his large body will stop the trolley, causing his death.
Should Molly push the stranger onto the tracks in order to save the five workmen?
To heat or to kill?
Enemy soldiers have taken over Jane’s village. They have orders to kill all remaining civilians over the age of two. Jane and some of the townspeople have sought refuge in two rooms of the cellar of a large house. Outside Jane hears the voices of soldiers who have come to search the house for valuables. Jane’s baby begins to cry loudly in the other room.
His crying will summon the attention of the soldiers who will spare Jane’s baby’s life, but will kill Jane and the others hiding in both rooms.
If Jane turns on the noisy furnace to block the sound, the other room will become uncomfortably hot for adults and children, but deadly for infants.
To save her and the others Jane must activate the furnace, which will kill her baby.
Should Jane overheat her baby in order to save herself and the other townspeople?
It was just a little bit…
You are on holiday in Bali with your wife and 18 year old son. You have been there for a week and are ready to head home. All three of you are at the airport getting ready to board your plane, when an armed officer comes around with a sniffer dog. You have all your bags on a trolley, and the dog sniffs at both your wife and your bag, and passes over them, however when he gets to your son’s bag, he begins to get a bit more active.
You look over at your son and he’s looking a little nervous. You know he’s smoked a little marijuana in his time, but generally, he’s a good kid, and you certainly didn’t think he’d actually be stupid enough to bring it back on the plane with him. At first you feel angry that he would do such a thing and start planning your responsibility lecture, but then you realize that you are in Bali, and they have a zero tolerance policy on drugs, meaning your son could be jailed for life, or worse,
executed, if he does have some illicit materials in his bag.
You look at your wife and realize she has come to the same conclusion and has gone pale with fear.
The armed officer accompanying the dog is beginning to look more stern with every sniff the dog takes and looks directly at you and asks you to open to the bag.
You do, and as the officer begins to take things out of the bag, you see to your horror that there is a small quantity of marijuana stashed in with your son’s belongings.
The officer looks at you and asks “Whose bag is this?”
You realize you have to answer, but the answer won’t be easy. You see your wife in the corner of your eye, and she is about to step forward and claim it as her own.
What should you do?