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Read the following thought experiment from Philippa Foot and then write an essay that answers the questions that follow: 
“Let us consider […] a pair of cases which I shall call Rescue I and Rescue II. In the first Rescue story we are hurrying in our jeep

Read the following thought experiment from Philippa Foot and then write an essay that answers the questions that follow:


“Let us consider […] a pair of cases which I shall call Rescue I and Rescue II. In the first Rescue story we are hurrying in our jeep to save some people – let there be five of them – who are imminently threatened by the ocean tide. We have not a moment to spare, so when we hear of a single person who also needs rescuing from some other disaster we say regretfully that we cannot rescue him, but must leave him to die. To most of us this seems clear […]. This is Rescue I and with it I contrast Rescue II. In this second story we are again hurrying to the place where the tide is coming in in order to rescue the party of people, but this time it is relevant that the road is narrow and rocky. In this version the lone individual is trapped (do not ask me how) on the path. If we are to rescue the five we would have to drive over him. But can we do so? If we stop he will be all right eventually: he is in no danger unless from us. But of course all five of the others will be drowned. As in the first story our choice is between a course of action which will leave one man dead and five alive at the end of the day and a course of action which will have the opposite result. (Philippa Foot, “Killing and Letting Die,” from Abortion and Legal Perspectives, eds. Garfield and Hennessey, 2004, University of Massachusetts Press)

Category: Essays

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