Trolley Problem Memes

I mentioned the possibility that “The Skittles Problem” might replace “The Trolley Problem” as the go-to illustration in ethics classes.

I am now almost certain that it won’t – unless we get as many amazing Skittles problem memes as there are trolley problem memes. Take a look at this sampling below, which is just a collection of a few of my favorites. I’ll start with the ones that intersect with science fiction. But the last trolley problem meme is also funny for me as a professor who discusses philosophical thought experiments. And then, at the end, as a special treat, there is a particularly good meme related to the Skittles analogy that Donald Trump Jr. used.

Teleportation trolley problem

Grandfather Trolley Problem

Ship of Theseus Trolley Problem

Gambler's Trolley Problem


Competitive Trolley Problem
A competitive version of the trolley problem.

Monty Trolley Problem  Recursive Trolley Problem Love Trolley Problem Venetian Gondola Problem The cost of the trolley problem Philosopher's job trolley problem

Life is like a bowl of skittles

"One of the things that should change is how history it taught. When was in ..."

Ovid Butler vs. White Supremacism
"I don't know where you went to school, but when I went, Textbooks cost more ..."

The Older Faculty Mindset List
"In 1983, I was one of those lucky first year college students with an electric ..."

The Older Faculty Mindset List
"Yes, I think you are right. I had forgotten that her heart was not beating ..."

Clara Oswald’s New Travel Companion
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Sue Burnam

    Just ran across this problem in Robert J. Sawyer’s “Quantum Night” – anybody else reading it? Or his “Calculating God”?

    • James F. McGrath

      I loved his Calculating God, and used it one of the times that I taught my course on Religion and Science Fiction.

    • David Evans

      Thank you for reminding me about “Quantum Night”. I haven’t read it, and it’s going straight to my Kindle.

    • Susan Barnes

      I do no like the guy. Not exactly the most charismatic writer of all. I find him to be a bore. And that is the worst thing a woman can say about a man.

  • arcseconds

    No discussion of the trolley problem is complete without mentioning ‘Can Bad Men Make Good Brains Do Bad Things?‘.

  • bobyount

    James, this may soon be more than an ethics discussion in class. With “self driving” cars how will the AI be guided in decision making when an accident scenario presents itself? How will the difference engine determine whether to save the life of the passenger or the 5 pedestrians when a crash is unavoidable?