General Interest • 1
Would You Kill the Fat Man?
The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong
“Lucid, witty, and beautifully written, this book is a pleasure to read. While providing an introduction to moral philosophy, it also presents engaging portraits of some of the greatest moral philosophers from Thomas Aquinas to the present day, and it makes the case for the relevance to ethics of the new experimental moral psychology. It is a tour de force.” —Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of
The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen
“Dave Edmonds has a remarkable knack for weaving the threads of phil-osophical debates into an engaging story.
Would You Kill the Fat Man?
is a stimulating introduction to some key ethical issues and philosophers.” —Peter Singer, author of
The Life You Can Save
A runaway train is racing toward ﬁve men who are tied to the track. Unless the train is stopped, it will inevitably kill all ﬁve men. You are standing on a footbridge looking down on the unfolding disaster. However, a fat man, a stranger, is standing next to you: if you push him oﬀ the bridge, he will topple onto the line and, although he will die, his chunky body will stop the train, saving ﬁve lives. Would you kill the fat man? The question may seem bizarre. But it’s one variation of a puzzle that has baﬄed moral philosophers for almost half a century and that more recently has come to preoccupy neuroscientists, psychologists, and other thinkers as well. In this book, David Edmonds, coauthor of the best-selling
, tells the riveting story of why and how philosophers have struggled with this ethical dilemma, sometimes called the trolley problem. In the process, he provides an entertaining and informative tour through the history of moral philosophy. Most people feel it’s wrong to kill the fat man. But why? After all, in taking one life you could save ﬁve. As Edmonds shows, answering the question is far more complex—and important—than it ﬁrst appears. In fact, how we answer it tells us a great deal about right and wrong.
2013. 240 pages. 10 line illus. Cl: 978-0-691-15402-2 $19.95 | £13.95
The Soul of the World
“This is a wonderful and in many places beautiful work; closely argued, though best read not as an argument but as a genuine ‘turning for home’ on the part of a learned and deeply thoughtful man, who oﬀers us hard-won insights as he ﬁxes his gaze on our ﬁnal end.” —Mark Johnston, Princeton University“This is a rich and highly sensitive book, which engages the reader on many levels, and which approaches religion not doctrinally, but via the full range of human sensibility, especially moral and aesthetic, and our capacities for seeing the world not just in terms of impersonal scientiﬁc structures, but in deeply personal terms. Finely written and argued, the book is philosophically sophisticated yet accessible.” —John Cottingham, Heythrop College London and University of Reading
May 2014. 248 pages. 5 halftones. 5 musical examples. Cl: 978-0-691-16157-0 $27.95 | £19.95
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