Imagine this: the weather is warm and sunny, and you decide it’s a good day to head to the beach. After managing to secure a spot on the sand among approximately a thousand other people, you notice a small child in the surf who appears to be struggling to stay above water. After looking around for a parent of the child, you think to yourself “someone better go in and pull that kid to shore before they drown!” As it happens, everyone else on the beach is thinking the same thing; however, everyone – including yourself – has the same thought: “surely someone else is going to jump into the waves and save the child any second now.” Thinking that someone else will help, no one ends up helping the child and they drown.
Now, who, if anyone, is morally blameworthy for the death of the child in this scenario? Does the fact that others could have helped minimize or eliminate your share of the moral responsibility? What do you think?