We couldn't help but laugh at this video...

We couldn’t help but laugh at this video…

We came across this video and we couldn’t help but laugh…

The trolley problem is a famous philosophical dilemma that toys with one’s morality. Now, a video of a 2-year-old “solving” the famous thought experiment has gone viral on YouTube.

“So this has been teachable moment both for my class and for our son!” – E.J. Masicampo

This is how the thought experiment goes: A trolley is speeding down a railway.  5 people are roped to the tracks ahead, unable to move. You watch all this happen from above and there is a lever you can use to divert the trolley to a different track. Except, that track has one person tied to it. What do you do? Do you divert the trolley to avoid killing the 5 individuals, killing the 1 person in the process? Or do you let the 5 people die instead?

The dilemma pits killing against letting be killed, and 1 human life for 5 lives.


E.J. Masicampo posted a video of his two-year-old son’s solution to this classic moral dilemma and we couldn’t help but laugh. Because, well, parenting is hard.

I’m teaching a moral psychology class this semester, and we spent part of the first day discussing the trolley problem, which is a frequently used ethical dilemma in discussions of morality. When I returned home that night and was playing trains with my son, I thought it would be interesting to see his response to the trolley problem. I recorded his response so that I could share and discuss it with my class, given especially that we also will be discussing moral development from birth onward. My wife and I are constantly talking with our son about how properly to treat others — so this has been teachable moment both for my class and for our son!


Joni van der Merwe

About Joni van der Merwe

Digital editor I’m getting married in 2018 and I think it’s the perfect time to focus on my relationship with not only my fiance but my friends, family and colleagues too. I want to nurture and cherish the people I love by being more understanding and present in their lives.

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