The Drowning Children Among Us

Madison Public Philosophy presents an interactive dramatization of Peter Singer’s famous drowning child thought experiment . Suppose that you have just come across a child drowning in a pond. You can rescue her, but at a cost: your expensive shoes will be ruined. Intuitively, it seems morally right to prioritize the child’s life over your shoes. If you are unable to see the child, but still know that she is there, does that change your obligation to her? What if she is hundreds of miles away or surrounded by others who have refused to offer aid? Is each of us, in some way, a bystander with both the ability and an obligation to save a real-life drowning child? Through the dramatization, and an ensuing discussion, we will explore these questions and more. After the discussion, audience members will have the opportunity to determine, via voting, how $500 (generously donated by The Life You Can Save) will be distributed among a group of innovative charities that help individuals throughout our global community.

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