There is a philosophical thought experiment, retold in many ethics classes, that goes like this:
You are sitting on a bridge above a railroad. A fat man sits next to you. You notice that 5 people are tied to the railroad track just a few hundred feet from where you are, and a train is headed toward them. It is possible, you reason, to stop the train by pushing the fat man down onto the track - killing him but saving 5 people. Is it ethical/moral to do this?
The conflict is that the principle of equality (my way of referring to the notion that all people are inherently equal) and principle of minimizing suffering (utilitarianism) imply that 5 lives are worth more than 1 life, but the principle of freedom (sovereignty over one’s own actions) implies violating the sovereignty of another individual is wrong. These two forces - respecting free will and minimizing suffering - seem to be at odds with each other.
The solution is that this is a trick question. The responsibility for stopping the train lies with the fat man and not you. Lets go over the facts:
1) Using the principle of equality, you can derive that you are inherently equal to the fat man
2) You and the fat man are both in a position to stop the train
3) You realize the train can be stopped, so via principle of equality the fat man should be able to realize the train can be stopped as well
4) It becomes the decision of the fat man, which then removes the conflict of respecting free will.
5) The fat man should kill himself to minimize communal suffering.
If you encounter this thought experiment in a philosophy class, whip this argument out and confound your teacher.
Edit: I should add that this is the kind of philosophy that has real world applications. Suppose you see some work that needs to be done which can help others, and you are in a position to manipulate your co-worker to do this work (adding to their own suffering of having to do more work). Are you morally responsible to manipulate your co-worker? No. It is your co-workers responsibility, and should anyone blame you, you now understand the logic of why it is your co-workers responsibility. Good luck trying to explain it to your boss though… “so you see sir, there’s a fat man and a bridge and a train. Wait… no… okay there’s a train headed toward some people and - wait where are you going? I didn’t tell you about pushing the fat man off the bridge yet!”