welcome covers

Your complimentary articles

You’ve read all of your complimentary articles for this month. To have complete access to the thousands of philosophy articles on this site, please

If you are a subscriber please sign in to your account.

To buy or renew a subscription please visit the Shop.

If you are a print subscriber you can contact us to create an online account.


Could There Be A Solution To The Trolley Problem?

Omid Panahi finds that finding a solution is not the problem.

The Trolley Problem is a thought experiment first devised by the Oxford moral philosopher Philippa Foot in 1967. In her paper titled ‘The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect’, Foot wrote “it may rather be supposed that he is the driver of a runaway tram [trolley] which he can only steer from one narrow track on to another; five men are working on one track and one man on the other; anyone on the track the tram enters is bound to be killed.” And so the Trolley Problem was born. (We should note that Foot presented this thought experiment as one among many others, and there is no evident reason why this one has received so much attention from the philosophical and scientific communities.)

In 1976, nine years after Foot published her original paper on the Trolley Problem, the American philosopher Judith J.