If a hiker were lost in the backcountry and you were able to rescue them, would you feel morally obligated to do so? Would the hiker be similarly obliged to take adequate precautions against getting lost?
In recently published research, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Tina Rulli grapples with the ethics of risk and rescue and their implications for public policy.
“When one can reduce the serious burdens that one imposes on others... one ought to do so, at least when the costs to oneself are minimal.”
In “The Duty to Take Rescue Precautions,” Rulli and co-author David Wendler argue that the moral obligation surrounding a rescue scenario goes beyond the duty of the person providing assistance and extends to the one requiring it. By taking precautions, the hiker can minimize both the threat to themselves and the risk of needing costly assistance that diverts resources from other vital activities.
Read more in a feature in the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences online journal.
— Rebecca Egli, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. environmental and Western history, for the Institute for Social Sciences