Is it a good idea to write a philosophical essay when you know the conclusion will not be satisfying?

I have a dilemma (pun intended). I am asked to write an essay of just 1 page. Well, easy peasy you'd say, but it's harder than it looks. Anyway, I want to write about the Trolley problem, yet I know that the conclusion will not be satisfying at all?

Why? Because there is no actual solution for this problem. It's either you choose A or B, nothing else.

So my question would be: is it even possible to write an essay like this? Should I choose a subject where there is a more distinct and concrete conclusion or not? I don't want to fail, so am just asking it here.

  • How is this possible? If you reach your conclusion using reasonable premises and correct reasoning, then you should find your conclusion satisfying. If you don't then either you're irrational to do so, or your premises were not reasonable after all, or your reasoning incorrect. – Eliran May 8 '17 at 11:15
  • With "satisfying", I mean there is no GOOD or BAD. There is no RIGHT answer here... – Siyah May 8 '17 at 11:21

I'm not sure the purpose of Philosophy is to arrive at satisfying conclusions. It is a search for truth and correctness, whether that is satisfying or not. The trolley problem is a well known thought experiment in moral philosophy, and there are many interesting things to say about it - is it a useful thought experiment? Are there any more realistic situations that are genuinely analogous to it? And so forth. In itself there are only two choices, but a great deal can be said about the ethical justification for those choices, and how or if one can show that either is morally correct. And if you feel that it's impossible to show that either is correct, perhaps that is in itself an interesting essay.

Generally speaking Philosophy has few concrete conclusions because the questions being asked are bother very large and very hard. That is something to get used to! So yes, you should write your one-page essay on the trolley problem, even if you don't feel the problem has a satisfying solution. That is perhaps exactly why you were asked to write the essay...

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