After a semester of studying ethics and many different moral codes and schools of thought, it was hard to decide upon a solution to answer the trolley problem. The two ideologies that struck me as the most applicable to this problem were Utilitarianism and Kant's Categorical Imperative. In this trolley, there is one child on board who is going down the track that will end and crash and he will die, but at the station, you can pull the lever where it will redirect the trolley onto a track where there are three kids playing, who will be run over by the trolley. You have to make a choice about it, as not pulling the lever is the same as choosing to end the life of the one child on board.
The Utilitarian Calculus states that one should act in such a way that minimizes pain and increases pleasure for the most amount of people. This means that in the trolley problem, one should let the train run its course to end the life of the one child inside the trolley rather than the multiple children playing on the track farther down if the trolley were to switch directions. By not pulling the lever, only one child would perish, which would lead to less pain for a greater number of people, whereas pulling the lever would cause more pain for a greater number of people.
A Kantian theorist would say that one should pull the lever in way that could be willed as a universal maxim for all people in the same situation. In this case, one would probably also let the train continue, but for different reasons. I find this problematic, however, as the circumstances could change but the maxim would not. For instance, what if the one child on the train was a child of an important diplomat or politician, or even your own child? In this case you would like to pull the lever and save the one person, but is this really moral? It seems like changing circumstances could change the maxim and cause it to be somewhat fluctuating in meaning and not universal.
I would choose the Utilitarian method for the trolley problem. Which moral code would you choose, and why?
NOTE: Your choice does not have to be between Utilitarianism and Kantian ethics, those are just the two I choose as they were the most relevant to my personal beliefs on the issue.