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Humanities Mohism

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A group of tourists/teens/adults/poachers have trespassed into a national park during closure due to bad weather and snuck into a cave where they have gotten trapped by a flood. The flooding has been stalled thanks to portable water pumps, but the situation is precarious: the rain could get too bad for the pumps to handle, the pumps could fail, and the cave is already known to be a dangerous climb even when not flooded. As the authority overseeing the park, should you send a team as soon as possible to attempt rescue despite the risks, or wait a day in the hope that the weather gets more favorable?


Amidst the 12,000 professions that exist, there are a number of jobs that require people to endanger their lives on a daily basis. But a question that comes up frequently is whether the life of the people engaged in such professions is less valuable than the life of those who need to be rescued. Consequently, there are numerous moral debates on whether the professionals should attempt rescue immediately despite the risks or whether they should wait for the danger to subside. This essay will argue that as the authority overseeing the National Park, it is our responsibility to send a team to the cave immediately to rescue the trapped tourists. This will be asserted by demonstrating the cost-benefit analysis using the principle of utilitarianism. This essay will also employ the Kantian Categorical Imperative to argue that the rescue operation should be implemented immediately.

Kantian Categorical Imperative states that as the park authority, we ought to start the rescue operation immediately since this moral ought depends on our duty. In this case, it is the moral duty of the rescue team to go ahead and complete their duty and rescue the helpless tourists from the cave. Kantianism supports the argument by stating that the best policy is to avoid the known evil and let the consequences come as may [1]. In other words, we should continue to do our actions irrespective. We should not wait for another day to see if the weather improves. There might be a situation wherein the tourists suffer fatal injuries during the delay between the rescue team's operation. Since we are not entirely certain of the outcome, we should rescue them immediately regardless of the consequences. Moreover, one of the four maxims state that we should try our best to help others in need. This is especially applicable for role-specific or skill-specific duties of rescue such as that of the rescue team. Since the rescuers have undergone intense training to not only save themselves but also to save other people stuck in precarious situations, they have a higher chance of living than the tourists and should extend their help to them. It is also the moral obligation of the park authority to ensure that the park visitors, especially tourists, are safe in life threatening situations such a flood. Thus, it can be gathered that according to Kantianism, the park authority should send the rescue team immediately.

Utilitarianism posits that those actions are right which best maximize happiness and reduce suffering for everyone concerned and thus generally supports acts of rescue [2]. Launching the rescue operation immediately would be beneficial for the national socio-economic condition. The cost-benefit analysis using the utilitarian framework will also demonstrate the same. One example that captures the essence of the argument is the recent ‘Thai Cave Rescue’ where twelve people got trapped inside a cave due to flooding [3]. Rescue organizers discussed various options for extracting the group, including waiting for the floodwaters to subside. However, due to the intense worldwide public interest, the rescue teams decided to start the operation immediately. Consequently, all the people were rescued. Moreover, it turned out to be well for both the people trapped inside as well as the Thai government that received international recognition and tourism boost for completing the rescue operation despite the risks. The socio-economic boost achieved due to this operation overpowers the costs in the long run. Thus, it can be argued that the park authority should send the rescue team immediately according to the principle of utilitarianism.



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