An Analysis Of Peter Singer's Famine, Affluence And Mortality

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Christianie Dor Famine, Affluence and Morality Ethics and Moral Reasoning PHI 208 Professor Jordan Seidel February 10, 2014 In our societies, there are always varying degrees of affluence. Those who have obtained more than enough to satisfy their basic needs and those who attempt to sustain themselves; have been met with incessant failure. What should be done about these people who cannot for whatever reason provide for themselves food, shelter and medicine? Our societies have attempted to help those who lack the ability to help themselves. As problems persist and escalate in deteriorating the human condition, the question begs are the people that are apart of prosperous societies providing enough aid…show more content…
Singer argues that if it is in “our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it” (Singer, 1972). All throughout his article Singer is arguing that those who have enough to sustain their needs and the needs of those dependent upon them should indeed give maximally or at the very least increase the amount of aid that they are currently giving to help prevent the suffering of those who lack shelter, food, and medicine (Singer, 1972). He does not allow people to excuse themselves from the responsibility of lessening the suffering of others because of their distance from the problem nor “the number of people who are in the same situation” to help prevent the problem (Singer,…show more content…
The difference between charity and duty in societies are the level at which each word and the associated actions that belong with these words are revered. The idea of duty is associated with obligations something that you have to do. In our society, it is considered a violation to ignore your duty, showing there is little room for discretion. While charity though revered allows for a varying degree of discretion. Charity is not an obligation, “giving aid would be a good thing to do but it would not be wrong not to do it” (Gilabert, 2007). In Singer’s eyes, these “traditional moral categories are upset” (Singer, 1972). Spending money on frivolous items when others are suffering and we have the means to satisfy or own needs and the needs of our dependents is in the eyes of Singer to be wrong (Singer, 1972). It is not an act of charity to donate money to those suffering from lack of shelter, food, and medicine it is in fact a duty that many are ignoring (Singer, 1972). The distinction between duty and charity seem to blur closer together for him than what has been traditionally set by society. He argues that “the present way of drawing the distinction, which makes it an act of charity for a man living at the level of affluence which most people “developed nations” enjoy to give money to save someone else from starvation, cannot be supported” (Singer, 1972). Singer does maintain that the act of charity or “acts which

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