QUESTION TYPE: Principle – Parallel
- Acceptable risk to life ➞ Net benefit unattainable otherwise OR risks borne voluntarily
- Contrapositive: Net benefit unattainable otherwise AND risks borne voluntarily ➞ Acceptable risk to life
- Net benefit unattainable otherwise OR risks borne voluntarily ➞ Acceptable risk to life
- Contrapositive: Acceptable risk to life ➞ Net benefit unattainable otherwise AND risks borne voluntarily
ANALYSIS: Two things to note about the principle above:
- The “if and only if” means the statement goes both ways. That’s why there are two versions (There are four statements above because I also included the contrapositives)
- The statements must be true about each person who faces the risks to life.
Note that this is an incredibly strict principle! Everyone must accept any slight risk to life, or the risk is unacceptable.
- This isn’t acceptable. The salespersons’s car is less safe. If the salesperson gets in an accident, they might hurt others. Those others haven’t voluntarily accepted the risk.
- This doesn’t follow. A minimal risk is still a risk. Unless everyone accepts that risk, the risk is unacceptable according to the principle.
- CORRECT. This is allowed. The motorcyclist isn’t risking the lives of others. And any risk where everyone accepts the risk is acceptable. Here, the motorcyclist is “everyone”.
(You might have hesitated because you wondered if the motorist’s decision might put other motorists at risk. That’s not supported: the motorcyclist only faces additional risk if they have a crash. So I can’t see how lack of a helmet risks the lives of others: the crash would happen with or without a helmet.)
- This is like B. There might be a good reason for the risk, but the risk is still there. This risk therefore isn’t acceptable unless everyone in the world voluntarily accepts it. A single dissenter could make all car travel unacceptable!
- The stimulus wasn’t about what was generally acceptable. It was only about which risks to life were acceptable.
Since this situation doesn’t involve risk, the principle has nothing to say about it.
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