We almost all have heard of the runaway trolley problem, but I have been thinking of a slightly different version, and was wondering how this affects the answer.
There is an execution of a criminal to be done in an hour. However, he is innocent. You are given the judicial papers declaring his innocence, and are tasked with the duty of running these papers to the site of the execution, so as to save the life of the one who is innocent (telephones, instant messaging, telegraphs, etc do not exist and there are no horses around: you must run). You are confident in your ability to get there if you run as fast as you can, and don’t waste time.
So you start running. However, while you run, you come across two children drowning in a pond. Later in the route, you come across two other children drowning in a separate pond. Still later, you come across 3 children drowning in yet another pond.
You are good at swimming and can save all of these children.
Now, if you save one group, you MIGHT be able to make it within the hour. If you save two, you PROBABLY will not make it. If you save 3 you DEFINITELY will not make it within the hour.
You do not know the future as you come across each group, and assume that regardless of your previous actions, the groups of children are always able to be saved by the time you get there.
What would be the correct moral answer to what to do in this situation? How does it differ from the runaway trolley problem?