E.J. Masicampo posted a video of his two-year-old son’s adorably horrifying solution to the classic moral dilemma known as the “trolley problem.” The thought experiment asks a person to choose whether to divert a train that is about to kill five people onto a track where it would only kill one person. Masicampo’s son thought outside the box to devise his own answer to the problem.
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!