All posts tagged: bystander effect

Annals of Heartlessness (31): A Real Life Variation of Singer’s Pond

Leave a comment
annals of heartlessness

(source) If Peter Singer were dead, he would be turning in his grave. Here’s a really sad and damning anecdote related to Hurricane Sandy: [M]om and children trapped in a car filling with water. Mon tries to get them to safety, but a wave sweeps the little boys away. Residents nearby refuse any help, even just phoning 911. … She is black; the neighbors white. … Police on Thursday said two brothers, ages 2 and 4, who […]

The Causes of Human Rights Violations (39): The Self-Perpetuating Cycle of Widespread Human Rights Violations

comment 1
causes of human rights violations / human rights violations / law / philosophy

(source, Escher’s original drawing of hands drawing themselves is here) Sorry for the strange title, but there is a logic behind it: it’s more difficult to end human rights violations the more widespread they are, and not just in a logistical sense. If rights violations are widespread, then they can become the moral norm. How does this happen? First, if everyone or a large group of people is victimized, victims start to believe that there’s nothing […]

The Causes of Human Rights Violations (29): The Bystander Effect

comments 7
causes of human rights violations / human rights violations

(source, the murder of Kitty Genovese is the archetypical although contested example of the bystander effect) The bystander effect can explain the persistence of certain types or instances of rights violations. If many people witness a person in distress, then it’s the less likely that any one person will help. “I could help, but I’m sure someone will”. Numerous experiments have proven the effect. Virtually all of them find that the presence of others inhibits […]