# To what degree are we expected to identify/fix others' mistakes?

If someone makes a mistake and they appear to be unaware of it, it seems that there are some situations where we would be expected to point it out, or even directly intercede to fix it.

## Example 1

I'm standing on the sidewalk and someone next to me begins to step out into the street. I see that a bus is fast approaching, but they seem not to notice.

In that situation, I think most people would say that it is my duty, my obligation, to grab the person and stop them from walking out in front of the bus. If I just stand by and do nothing, I might not be legally in the wrong, but I think most people would agree that I am morally/socially wrong.

But what if the situation is not so dire as that? Where do we draw the line?

## Example 2

My neighbor and I are both leaving our houses in the morning. Just as he is walking out the door his cell phone rings. He has to juggle his coffee cup and his briefcase to answer it, and in the confusion, he drives off and I see that he has left his front door open.

Am I obligated to flag him down and tell him about the open door? Obviously I can tell him if I want to, but I'm asking if I am obligated to. When he comes home and discovers his house has been robbed, and he realizes that I must have seen him leave his door open, would he have a right to be upset that I did not tell him?

## Example 3

My friend is going on a long trip and asks me to come to her house and water her plants while she is away. I agree to do it, and she says that she will get back to me to let me know the exact schedule and to give me a key.

But she never gets back to me, so I assume her trip was canceled or she found someone else to do it. But it turns out that she just forgot to touch base with me before leaving, and now all her plants are dead.

Does she have a right to be upset that I did not remind her? Was I obligated to?

## In Summary

What calculus is used to determine my obligation to intercede when I observe someone else making a mistake?

• The level of harm the mistake would cause?

• The level of relationship with the other person, and the degree to which I care about remaining in their good graces?

• The degree of carelessness that resulted in the mistake?

• The golden rule?

I'm aware this question might (probably!) not have a definite answer.