Here is the scenario:
You are a Fire Fighter, you rush to the burning building that is about to collapse. There is not enough time to wait for reinforcements. In front of you are two people that need your help of savings: Person A & Person B. There is only enough time to carry one person. Carry both and three of you die.
By choosing to save one you are essentially condemning the other to die, as there isn't enough time to get the other. Who do you choose?
Person A is lighter, and has been inhaling smoke for longer period of time. Person B is heavier but only recently started to inhale smoke.
If you choose Person A, you can escape the burning building faster, but there is less chance of persona A surviving
If you choose Person B, there is better chance of him surviving, but it will take you longer time, and there is higher probability that both of you may not survive
There is no right answer, only better argument, Which person would you choose to save and why?
You choose Person A, Therefore i Choose B.
because dilemma may depend on circumstances let's look it mathematically. If the purpose is to maximize net lives saved. Both choices are equal.
Let F = Fire Fighter
A = Person A
B = Person B
X = Outcome
F=A=B=1 -- (all life is equal)
Let's introduce probability (for the purpose of the exercise we will assume uniform distribution in gaps):
the probability of most likely saving a life is 1.5
the probability of likely saving a life is 1.25
the probability of somewhat likely to save a life 1
the probability of less likely saving a life .75
1st: 1.25F+.75A -1B=X=1
2nd: 1F+1B -1A=X=1
Note: 3rd option where fire fighter saves only himself
1.5F -1A-1B= 0.5 -- which is why 3rd choice is inferior in terms of getting net life saved (and though frequently taken in practice is not mathematically sound)
In order to choose 1st option, and to get net gain in lives saved -- the life of the fire fighter has to be more important than the lives he saves.
My question is Why?
(Feel free to challenge the math)
If we're still talking about probabilities than, he would be more safe in choice A, but less likely to save someone else. Perhaps fire fighter is bad choice of an example b/c we see them as indifferent about the life they save. if Person A & B were his children per say, will he still choose Child A ? or we will he try to save both of them and fail?
Saving Child B, and having a father present seems like the moral choice i would choose, but it's a slightly different scenario...
in order to salvage this debate, let's assume the father was outside the house coming back to the house.