You’re on a footbridge above the tram (streetcar) tracks. You can see that the tram approaching the bridge is out of control, and that it’s going to hit five people just past the bridge. They’ve been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. The only way to stop the tram is to drop a heavy weight into its path. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you, also watching the tram from the footbridge. You could push him onto the track into the path of the tram. To do so would kill the fat man but save the five people on the track. Alternatively, you could allow the tram to continue on its way, which will mean that the five will certainly die. Should you push the fat man onto the track or allow the tram to continue?
[Judith Jarvis Thomson]