Singer essay famine affluence and morality

Dawson Oxford: Basil Blackwell, , p. It would then follow from the position reached earlier that one ought to be doing all one can to promote population control unless one held that all forms of population control were wrong in themselves, or would have significantly bad consequences. I shall therefore take as established the principle I asserted earlier. For a related but significantly different view see also Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics, 7th ed. Singer is an advocate for helping those in need. I do not think I need to say much in defense of the refusal to take proximity and distance into account. This assumption is unsupported, and does not strike me as at all plausible. Singers aim seems to also be to change our perspective on the act of giving to charity and what we ought to do and what is in our duty as citizens of this world. I will explain these three premises in greater detail throughout the course of this essay. He puts his argument as following. If everyone does this, however, there will be more than can be used for the benefit of the refugees, and some of the sacrifice will have been unnecessary. The uncontroversial appearance of the principle just stated is deceptive.

Singer compares the inaction of rich people to see a child drowning in a pond that is shallow. Such secondary principles are, I think, swept aside by the extreme evil of people starving to death.

peter singer famine affluence and morality mla citation

This is not due to discriminatory grounds but rather on a sense of togetherness and helping a citizen in need.

To do so is not charitable, or generous. Here is the basic breakdown of Singer's argument. Therefore the division and appropriation of property, which proceeds from human law, must not hinder the satisfaction of man's necessity from such goods.

Singer essay famine affluence and morality

I should also say that the strong version seems to me to be the correct one. Peter Singer is a moral philosopher from Australia, and he works as the professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, among other things.

Granted, in normal circumstances, it may be better for everyone if we recognize that each of us will be primarily responsible for running our own lives and only secondarily responsible for others.

peter singer famine affluence and morality summary

Notes 1. If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought to do it and 3.

Famine affluence and morality audio

It can be something personal to you, or just something you're interested in. Finally, it should be emphasized that these considerations are relevant only to the issue of what we should require from others, and not to what we ourselves ought to do. On the contrary, we ought to give the money away, and it is wrong not to do so. Giving money to people further away would not be as enticing when your money is going through organisations and you cannot be one hundred percent sure all the proceeds will be used correctly. It is a view that is an ideal excuse for inactivity; unfortunately most of the major evils - poverty, overpopulation, pollution - are problems in which everyone is almost equally involved. I would be more compelled to help someone I see in my community going through hardship. Giving money to the Bengal Relief Fund is regarded as an act of charity in our society. The charitable man may be praised, but the man who is not charitable is not condemned. Regardless of the number of people who can help, you still have an obligation to.

If your well-being isn't strong, then you won't be able to help others. The obligation of the affluent is, I believe, to do both.

Peter singer famine affluence and morality essay

So far as it concerns us here, there is nothing unique about this situation except its magnitude. Improving your empathy skills is a great way to help the less fortunate, and it's quite easy to do. In his example, Singer focuses on the population of East Bengal, and their struggle with famine and extreme poverty. And if everyone is not acting more or less simultaneously, then those giving later will know how much more is needed, and will have no obligation to give more than is necessary to reach this amount. The adult can save the child without the risk of death, and if they choose not to, they are not a good person. On a more philosophical level, there has been some discussion of the original article which has been helpful in clarifying the issues and pointing to the areas in which more work on the argument is needed. The idea of the rich donating to help the poor isn't anything new, but Singer's essay was still quite powerful. Some say that when you read the essay, you are intellectually stimulated, and you feel upset you haven't given or not given enough money to help people, regardless of your position. This is a rather good method of writing as it cancels out confusion based on not being able to understand and interpret his ideas fully. He mentions large sums of money that affluent countries like Australia and Great Britain had given to support India in looking after their newly found refugees. The philosopher who does so will have to sacrifice some of the benefits of the consumer society, but he can find compensation in the satisfaction of a way of life in which theory and practice, if not yet in harmony, are at least coming together. Singer began to feel troubled by the number of people in great need.

In particular, as John Arthur has shown in "Rights and the Duty to Bring Aid" included in this volumesomething more needs to be said about the notion of "moral significance. As I have already said, I need to assert it only in its qualified form: if it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything else morally significant, we ought, morally, to do it.

Peter singer famine affluence and morality pdf

Singer's extreme stand on our moral obligations to others became a powerful call to arms and continues to challenge people's attitudes towards extreme poverty. It may convince us, unless we notice that it is based on a hypothetical premise, although the conclusion is not stated hypothetically. If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought to do it and 3. Nor does it affect the question of how much an individual should give in a society in which very few are giving substantial amounts. In this evaluation, I will be looking at Singer's three premises and the case study he also mentions to further strengthen his argument. In this instance, taking our conclusion seriously means acting upon it. Again, however, one could accept the argument without drawing the conclusion that it absolves one from any obligation to do anything to prevent famine. I think most people will agree about this, although one may reach the same view by different routes. Through this article, Singer presents his view that we have the same moral obligations to those far away as we do to those close to us. One possibility, which has already been mentioned, is that we ought to give until we reach the level of marginal utility - that is, the level at which, by giving more, I would cause as much suffering to myself or my dependents as I would relieve by my gift. In either case, I would argue against Arthur's view that we are morally entitled to give greater weight to our own interests and purposes simply because they are our own. The moral point of view requires us to look beyond the interests of our own society. They must donate more than a normal person in Western society would. The obligation of the affluent is, I believe, to do both.
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Outline of Peter Singer on famine, affluence, and morality