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Risky rescues – a reply to Patrick Findler


Reichling, Philipp (2022). Risky rescues – a reply to Patrick Findler. Journal of the Philosophy of Sports, 49(3):336-350.

Abstract

In 2006, mountaineer David Sharp died on the slopes of Mount Everest. Sharp’s death led to public outrage after allegedly 40 climbers passed by the dying Sharp on their way to the peak, without stopping to help. But, since the slopes of Everest are a high-risk environment and rescuing Sharp would have entailed great risks for the rescuers, it is not clear whether the other mountaineers had a moral duty to rescue him. In a recent article, Patrick Findler introduces a principle to analyse such cases which states that we have a duty to rescue under dangerous circumstances, if the involved risks are not higher than the risks we are already taking in the pursuit of our own, morally less worthy ends. However, Findler then rejects this principle as too demanding. In this paper I will defend the principle against its inventor and argue in favour of such a duty. And while it may be true that the other mountaineers were justified in passing Sharp for different reasons, the principle shows that not only climbers, but adventure-sport athletes in general and people who engage in high-risk endeavours, may have a duty to rescue that doesn’t apply to others.

Abstract

In 2006, mountaineer David Sharp died on the slopes of Mount Everest. Sharp’s death led to public outrage after allegedly 40 climbers passed by the dying Sharp on their way to the peak, without stopping to help. But, since the slopes of Everest are a high-risk environment and rescuing Sharp would have entailed great risks for the rescuers, it is not clear whether the other mountaineers had a moral duty to rescue him. In a recent article, Patrick Findler introduces a principle to analyse such cases which states that we have a duty to rescue under dangerous circumstances, if the involved risks are not higher than the risks we are already taking in the pursuit of our own, morally less worthy ends. However, Findler then rejects this principle as too demanding. In this paper I will defend the principle against its inventor and argue in favour of such a duty. And while it may be true that the other mountaineers were justified in passing Sharp for different reasons, the principle shows that not only climbers, but adventure-sport athletes in general and people who engage in high-risk endeavours, may have a duty to rescue that doesn’t apply to others.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Health (social science)
Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Duty to rescue, supererogation, risk, adventure sports, mountaineering, Everest
Language:English
Date:2 September 2022
Deposited On:22 Dec 2022 06:39
Last Modified:28 Apr 2024 01:41
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0094-8705
Additional Information:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of the Philosophy of Sport on [2022], available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/00948705.2022.2103423
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/00948705.2022.2103423
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Description: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of the Philosophy of Sport on [2022], available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/00948705.2022.2103423