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‘The Trolley Problem’ Quotes Page 1 of 4

The Good Place: The Trolley Problem

206. The Trolley Problem

Aired October 19, 2017

Chidi is frustrated as he attempts to teach Michael about human ethics with "The Trolley Problem". Meanwhile, Tahani confides in Janet about her relationship with Jason.

Quote from Chidi

Chidi: But definitely a no on the rap musical?
Eleanor: I mean, if we really...
Chidi: [rapping] My name is Kierkegaard, and my writing is impeccable. Check out my teleological suspension of the ethical.
Eleanor: No.
Chidi: No! Right? [laughs] No, it felt like a no when I was doing it.

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Quote from Michael

Chidi: I just want to have a little chat about your progress. In the last homework assignment, I asked you to examine the ethics of "Les Miserables," in which a man steals a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. Would you please read your first paragraph here?
Michael: "Everyone in this story sucks and belongs in the Bad Place. The thief is bad. The officer chasing him is bad. All the whiny prostitutes are bad. Plus, they're all French, so they're going to the Bad Place automatically."
Chidi: Do you see how you're already off topic?
Michael: Chidi, I've been around a long time... like, all of it. But I know for a fact that if you steal a loaf of bread, it's a negative 17 points... 20 if it's a baguette because that makes you more French.
Chidi: Okay. Sure. But philosophy is about questioning things that you take for granted, and I-I just don't think that you're doing that. I mean, "I personally know that Victor Hugo is in the Bad Place being tortured. He's a real wuss, too. If one of the lava monsters even gets near the guy, he's like, 'Sacre bleu, I peed in m' pants.'"
Michael: I don't know what you want from me. T-that's exactly what he said.

Quote from Tahani

Tahani: Jason's a nice person, but my suitors were always of a certain echelon. I used what I called the "Duke Rule," because Duke is both minimum acceptable university and rank of nobility.
Janet: You've never dated anyone like Jason before.
Tahani: I mean, I've dallied below my station. I once had a brief fling with a non-famous Hemsworth brother, but even Larry Hemsworth had more status than Jason. Jason didn't even have a job... in a sad way, not in the good, rich way.

Quote from Chidi

Chidi: This is an exciting day. We are going to tackle The Trolley Problem.
Jason: Is this a game? I go first. I call blue.
Chidi: There's no... this is... No, this is a thought experiment first introduced by British philosopher Philippa Foot in 1967. You are driving a trolley when the brakes fail, and on the track ahead of you are five workmen that you will run over. Now, you can steer to another track, but on that track is one person you would kill instead of the five. What do you do?

Quote from Tahani

Tahani: But this is hard because the only trolley I've ever been on is James Franco's ironic trolley. It travels backwards from his penguin grotto to his garage of adult tricycles. Um... kill one, save five.

Quote from Chidi

Chidi: Good! But there's a lot of other versions of this, like what if you knew one of the people? Does that change the equation? Or what if you're not the driver, you're just a bystander? Or let's throw the trolley out altogether. Let's say you're a doctor, and you can save five patients. But you have to kill one healthy person and use his organs to do it.
Tahani: But that's not the same thing.
Chidi: Why not? It's still choosing to kill one person to save five, isn't it?

Quote from Michael

Chidi: Michael, you've been kind of quiet. What do you think about all this?
Michael: Well, obviously the dilemma is clear. How do you kill all six people? So I would dangle a sharp blade out the window to slice the neck of the guy on the other track as we smush our five main guys. [off their looks] Oh, I did the thing again, didn't I?
Chidi: Yep. Ten more, buddy.
Michael: "People good." "People good." Why is that so hard to remember? People... What is it?
Chidi: Good.
Michael: Good.

Quote from Michael

Chidi: Okay, Michael... trust me. When it comes to human ethics, I just know more than you. I've been studying it my whole life.
Michael: It's just that it's so theoretical, you know? I mean, you know, maybe there's a more... concrete approach. Here, let's try this.
[After Michael snaps his fingers, he, Chidi and Eleanor are suddenly on a trolley car in a busy city district]
Chidi: Oh, God! Michael, what did you do? [trolley bell ringing]
Michael: I made The Trolley Problem real so we could see how the ethics would actually play out. There are five workers on this track and one over there. Here are the levers to switch the tracks. Make a choice.
Chidi: T-the thing is, I mean, ethically speaking...
Eleanor: No time, dude! Make a decision!
Chidi: Well, it's tricky! I mean, on the one hand, if you ascribe to a purely utilitarian worldview...
[Chidi is splattered with blood as the trolley crashes into the five workers.]
Michael: Okay. So... what did we learn?

Quote from Chidi

Michael: These five people all need organ transplants, or they will die. Eleanor's perfectly healthy. Chidi, do you want to slice her open and use her organs to save the five sick people?
Eleanor: Chidi, Chidi, think about this. I'm your hottest friend... No, Tahani. I'm your nicest fr... No, Jason. I'm your friend.
Chidi: I-I won't do it. As a doctor, I've taken the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, and although five people will die, I cannot harm one innocent person to save them and forsake my oath. It's unethical.
Michael: Okay. Tell their families.
Chidi: What?
[After Michael snaps his fingers, the trio are now in a hospital corridor with a group of families]
Girl: Doctor Chidi? My daddy needed a heart transplant. Did you save his life? He was working, then a really bad man ran him over with a trolley.
Chidi: Oh! Come on!

Quote from Michael

Michael: What? I'm finding this incredibly helpful. I think I'm really starting to get it. Oh, I know. We'll do the one where you're in a boat next to a volcano, and you can either save 50 people, or one awesome dog or whatever.
Chidi: No, no, no, no, no.
Eleanor: Hey. Are you torturing us again?
Michael: What?
Eleanor: You don't care about learning ethics lessons. You're just torturing Chidi again, aren't you?
Michael: Busted.
Chidi: What?
Michael: [laughing wildly] I'm sorry. Old habits die hard. Not as hard as those people you crushed with the trolley, though. Boom!
Chidi: I'm sorry, is this funny to you?
Michael: Yeah. I thought that was clear from my laughter. Oh, come on. My bad. Look, I'm still on your team, okay? I just needed to let off a little steam. Phew.

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