The Trolley Problem
the popular meme explained

Steer the trolley away, because the happiness and well-being of more people outweigh those of one.

This answer corresponds with the ethical paradigm of

Utilitarianism according to John Stuart Mill

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that follows the 'happiness principle' - it is the belief that, when faced with a choice between different kinds of action (or inaction), one should opt for that action which is most beneficial to the greatest number of people, or for that action that reduces harm to ourselves or others. In Mill's own words: "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure" (cf. Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill). Early Utilitarians looked at happiness as the sole criterion when considering what is beneficial. They thus considered the 'happiness principle' to be: the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. The definition of happiness has been broadened by contemporary scholars who consider themselves to be Utilitarians.

Furthermore, for John Stuart Mill, unlike his teacher Jeremy Bentham, there are qualitative differences, not only quantitative ones. That is to say that greatest pleasure for the greatest number does not mean that we should accommodate watching TV and drinking beer because that is more pleasurable to most, and instead attend to more virtuous pursuits, such as solving mathematical problems and helping others. Simple pleasures or sensual pleasures are not just as good as more sophisticated and complex pleasures. If the former was the case, then as Mill notes, a dog’s life would the same as that of a human - harming a puppy would be of no moral difference than harming a baby. Or as one philosopher put it, it is fundamentally different if I accidentally step on a slug than if I accidentally step on a baby. In other words, Mill's variation of the Utilitarianism seeks to improve on the greatest happiness principle by attending to these rather intuitive points.

Which is not to say that Mill simply exclude simple pleasures; quite the contrary he does advocate for pleasures of all kinds. He just thought that once one knows of higher pleasures, they will opt for that kind of pleasure over the other.

Utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethical theory. That is to say, it looks at ethics from the position of consequences of actions rather than whether actions themselves are worthy of ethical consideration. For example, The Ten Commandments look at actions themselves as worthy of ethical analysis, wholly disregarding the consequences. Murder and theft are never justifiable, because the action itself is condemned independent of the consequences. Utilitarians look at consequences of theft (e.g. starvation vs luxury) when considering whether an action is morally permissible.

Utilitarianism and Communication Theory

Technological progress has substantially changed the nature and value of communication over the past few decades. Especially the use of internet as the medium of different forms of communication (e.g. chatting, social media, VOIP, blogs, etc.), has given an opportunity to a large majority of people of the globe to make themselves heard - either through directly publishing or through commenting and sharing. Nevertheless, while most of us would consider the rise of internet as overall a beneficial development, it does pose a philosophical problem. Consider the following: because Utilitarians look at consequences of actions, they do not necessarily disapprove of such actions as lying. Lying to friends and family in order to avoid embarrassment or a scandal is permissible as long as the happiness principle applies (note that this is only true for 'act utilitarians', 'rule utilitarians' may have a different opinion). Such an easy analysis, however, becomes more complicated when the medium of communication changes from direct speech to public announcements on social media. The consideration is no longer about the direct family and friends, but reaches a wider audience. Furthermore, direct communication through speech conveys more than words from a screen - our tone, the close relationship and the use of words, the underlying intent and familiarity, body language, etc. disappear when using internet as the medium of communication. To be sure, the wider use of videos online does mitigate some of these issues; nevertheless, some of these (familiarity, close relationships, etc.) remain an issue with communication theory.

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