Peter Graham


No one has done more over the past four decades to draw attention to the importance of, and attempt to solve, a particularly vexing problem in ethics—the Trolley Problem—than Judith Jarvis Thomson. Though the problem is originally due to Philippa Foot (“The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect”), Thomson showed how Foot’s simple solution would not do and offered some solutions of her own. No solution is uncontroversial and the problem remains a thorn in the side of non-consequentialist moral theory. Recently, however, Thomson has changed her mind about the problem. She no longer thinks she was right to reject Foot’s solution to it. I argue that, though illuminating, Thomson’s current take on the Trolley Problem is mistaken. I end with a solution to the problem that I find promising.