The Ethics of Giving a Ride
How do you reconcile your desire to honor your own values without forcing the people you want to help into more dangerous conduct? Former New York Times columnist Randy Cohen tackles this ethical query.
In a previous post, Big Think invited you to pose your ethical questions to Randy Cohen, the former New York Times writer who answered reader's questions in his column "The Ethicist" for over a decade. The dilemmas he tackled ranged from the ethics of moving to higher-priced unoccupied seats at a ball game to whether we're obligated to blow the whistle on a friend's cheating spouse. Here Cohen answers the second of five thought-provoking submissions. Check back next Sunday to see his response to the next question. (Responses will be released on Sundays over a period of five weeks.)
I live in Cincinnati, where public transportation is not the best. I help out a Mexican-American family, partly by driving them where they need to go. This works because there are 4 of them, and my car holds 5. However, occasionally their cousins need a ride. There are 6 of them, including a young baby. I don’t feel comfortable driving people without the proper seat belts and baby seats, etc. I have offered to take two trips to solve the seat belt problem, but we still have the lack of a car seat to worry about. And they are not comfortable with splitting up the family.
I can just refuse to drive them, but this doesn’t make them any safer. They will just call a cab, and all pile in with no seat belts at all. What’s the ethical thing to do?
Here is Cohen's response:
What makes a life worth living as you grow older?
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
- The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
- Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
The Amazon Rainforest is often called "The Planet's Lungs."
- For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
- Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
- There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
Emojis might contain more emotional information than meets the eye.
- A new study shows that people who frequently used emojis in text messages with potential dates engaged in more sexual activity and had more contact with those dates.
- However, the study only shows an association; it didn't establish causality.
- The authors suggest that emojis might help to convey nuanced emotional information that's lacking in strictly text-based messaging.