Do we have stronger duties to assist in emergencies than in nonemergencies? According to Peter Singer and Peter Unger, we do not. Emergency situations, they suggest, merely serve to make more salient the very extensive duties to assist that we always have. This view, while theoretically simple, appears to imply that we should throw away common-sense emergency norms. Resisting that implication, theorists like Frances Kamm, Jeremy Waldron, and Larry Temkin suggest that emergencies are indeed normatively exceptional. While their approach is more in line with common-sense, however, it is theoretically less simple, and it is has proven difficult to justify the exception. In this paper we propose a model of emergencies that we call the Informal-Insurance Model, and explain how this can be used to combine theoretical simplicity with common-sense emergency norms.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International