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Vercingetorix VII
So I would propose a dilemma like this;

Imagine you're a hydroengineer working at some dam complex. The dam is wracked by sudden and powerful seasonal floods that far exceed what the system was built to deal with. If you don't do anything, the dam will burst and flood a town of two hundred people down stream. You have only three options.

1) You can do nothing and allow the town of 200 people to perish.

2) You can divert the flood, but only by directing it to a town of 100 people instead.

3) You can divert the flood a different direction, to a town of 50 people... which happens to include your own home, your family and friends.

Which would you do?

I don't think there's a clear cut "morally correct" answer to this question; all three answers have moral arguments in favor of them. Despite that I think only one is functionally correct, although I'll withhold that for the time being.

3 then 2 then 1
As I said, I think there's an argument in favor of all three choices. I would still go with #2, and think that's close to being "functionally" correct.

My reasoning is that if you want to get good done in the world, you have to be willing to get your hands dirty. You have to be willing to actively take a less-bad option, even if it still causes some suffering, and be willing to accept a net good.

On the other hand, I think it's dangerous to take this logic too far. One shouldn't be a robot detached from the world. Your family, or at least your friends, should mean more to you than strangers.

Fanatical Zealot

Cut a channel leading to the nearest river and empty it into that? confused

Fanatical Zealot

Wait why would 200 people perish?

I mean okay the dam overflows.

It's not like all the dam water breaks out or anything.

Only a little bit seeps out until I can build a proper channel to divert the water.

At most they'd have some water damage.

Quotable Genius

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Vercingetorix VII
Dr Dillinger
If the floods are seasonal then the dam would have been built to sustain them.

The answer to the prisoner's dilemma is not, "I wouldn't commit any crimes."

No, because in that case, they don't care if you're actually guilty or not, they just want a conviction. This, though, is a poorly constructed dilemma. If you somehow knew about the dam break long enough to divert the water, evacuating the city of 200 would likely be a faster, easier, more reliable solution.
Assuming that in situations 2 and 3 everyone still dies I would do 2 by the simple fact that I cannot do 3.
Come on guys, it's a simple matter of more people surviving. Otherwise you can go calculate the value of everyone involved based on their income but it will almost always have no importance compared to simple numbers.
Vercingetorix VII
Fermionic
Vercingetorix VII
Dr Dillinger
If the floods are seasonal then the dam would have been built to sustain them.

The answer to the prisoner's dilemma is not, "I wouldn't commit any crimes."

It is your responsibilty to come up with a watertight dilemma.
If you'd pardon the pun.

There really is no such thing.

"Oh, I had an electrical device installed in my partner's pacemaker that I detonate before we're captured so he can't rat me out."

"I have my henchmen capture my partner's family to hold them for ransom so he knows not to sell me down the river."

I mean if people want to be dishonest prats and dance around the question posed by a dilemma, they always can. It's pretty fruitless to try and make it "watertight" as you say.

Isn't it dishonest to create completely unrealistic hypotheticals in the first place?

Shameless Giver

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I would either choose one or two. I most definitely would not divert the water to the town my family and loved ones are living in.

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Split the water between all three, so everybody only gets flooded a little bit.
Exoth XIII
Vercingetorix VII
Dr Dillinger
If the floods are seasonal then the dam would have been built to sustain them.

The answer to the prisoner's dilemma is not, "I wouldn't commit any crimes."

No, because in that case, they don't care if you're actually guilty or not, they just want a conviction. This, though, is a poorly constructed dilemma. If you somehow knew about the dam break long enough to divert the water, evacuating the city of 200 would likely be a faster, easier, more reliable solution.

And no one would resolve a dispute over broken vases the way the Traveler's Dilemma suggests, yet it's a well-accepted hypothetical because it asks a valid question about how people behave under different constraints.

Picking apart the construction of a hypothetical dilemma is morbidly retarded, to be honest.

Eloquent Seeker

I don't believe in hypothetical situations. That's like lying to your brain. mrgreen
All three of those "towns" are small enough to evacuate in less than an hour, so it wouldn't matter what you choose.

Fashionable Fatcat

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This isn't a moral question, it's a question of ethics.

******** triage, you tell the city of 200 people to evacuate and do what Kapland said, as an engineer you shouldn't ever actively sacrifice the lives of people, that's neither your duty nor your decision to make.

This isn't a good dilemma, because literally the only thing keeping people from saying anything but the 3 choices you said is "because I said so".