Good samaritanism : A matter of justice

In Jonathan Seglow (ed.), The Ethics of Altruism. F. Cass Publishers. 128-144 (2004)
Liberal theorists of justice hardly ever study duties of Good Samaritanism. This is not to say that they regard a failure to be a Good Samaritan as morally acceptable: indeed, most of them think that it is morally wrong. But they tend not to think that it is morally wrong on the grounds that it constitutes a violation of a duty of justice. Rather, they condemn it as a failure to perform a duty of charity, or as a failure to be appropriately altruistic. By contrast, they condemn as a violation of a duty of justice a failure to give to the poor the material resources they need. My aim, in this essay, is to show that if liberals are committed to the view that the needy have a right, as a matter of justice, to some of the material resources of the better off, they must endorse the view that the imperilled have a right, as a matter of justice, th the bodily services of those who are in a position to help. In short, or so I argue, Good Samaritan Duties are not a matter of Charity; nor are they a matter of altruism; rather, they firmly fall within the purview of justice. I make my case as follows. First, I rebut the claim that those are duties of charity, and not of justice. Second, I argue, pace many, that we owe it to the imperilled themselves, as a matter of justice, to rescue them: we do not owe it to society as a whole. Finally, I show, against a number of theorists, that such duty can and should be enforced by the state
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