Fat Man In The Cave - Thought Experiment
|Philosophy : Thought Experiments|
Everyone's pulses were racing. Whose stupid idea was it to potholing in the cave? The water level was rising, and they had to get out fast.
Freddy was at the front, but he wasn't the most compact of chaps. In fact, he had unfortunately got stuck in the small exit to the cave, and the other twenty of them were stuck behind with no way out.
If they didn't shift Freddy they would all die a watery death for sure - not something that bore thinking about. Yet all attempt to lever Freddy out, push him, pull him seemed to have any effect, he was stuck fast.
Now they had a difficult option - they had a stick of dynamite with them. They could blow open the whole to the cave and take out Freddy and save the twenty of them. Save twenty or save none? It seemed like a no brainer to them. But still some had doubts about the morality of it.
Then the group leader piped up and settled their fears:
"We're not doing anything wrong. We're not placing the dynamite there to blow up Freddy, we're putting it there to blow a hole in the cave so that we can escape. The blowing up of Freddy is an unfortunate side effect of the explosion. So you see, as we don't want to blow up Freddy and that's not the purpose of the dynamite it's fine.
To summarise: it would be a morally quesitonable act if we put the dynamite there to blow up Freddy. But we're not - we're putting it there to blow a hole in the cave so we can get out; now there's nothing wrong with that, is there?"
This seemed to quell their fears, and with the water level rising, the leader pulled the box of matches out of her pocket...
Questions about thought experiment: