Idle Talk 03 02 13 “Why is saving two is better then one?”

“Why is saving two people better then one? A matter of fairness”

This week we are talking normative ethics. Imagine this scenario: A Coast Guard sees two ships in trouble and can only rescue one. One ship has 1 person aboard the other has 2. Most people would agree that Saving two people is the fair thing to do.

This is something that is often taken as an obvious truth but is it? In this episode we attempt to rationalise this assertion. We first look at the We shall first examine contractualist and utilitarian  response to this issue.  We then contrast this with Scanlon’s  position which claims that we can justify saving the greater number of people because they have more claims to being rescued. Our guest  this week James Kirkpatrick a philosophy masters student at the University of St Andrews. James raises some reasons for  Scanlon’s account  for saving the many over the few is unfair.

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