Arguments of Peter Singer
PHI200: Mind and Machine
April 19, 2013
Singer’s goal in the article “Famine, Affluence and Morality” is to get people to think differently about famine relief, charity, and morality. These are key issues that people need to be more aware of and act on them. People who are financially stable and well off should take more of an active role by giving more. They should feel obligated in helping those in need. There are many people suffering severely, those who can help are doing nothing. People should be more willing to give help rather than being obtuse & self-centered. Singer argues it is wrong for a person to suffer from homelessness, hunger, or lack of medical attention. These needs are essential in life and without them can alimentally lead to one’s death.
Another argument Singer gives is if a person is wealthy, they are more than capable to help others financially. They need to feel obligated to do so. Instead of a person spending money on extras and materialistic items for themselves, they should donate that money to the poor. The money should help with necessities for the poor and uplift them. On the same point he points out, one should not sacrifice if it would put them in harm’s way. Singer’s concept of marginal utility is that one should give as much as possible to the unfortunate; it should never create a hardship to the giver. This would be doing more harm than good. When a person contributes to the poor, it should not financially affect their lifestyle by putting them in debt, homeless, or without food. People that are wealthy and well off should donate to the people that are unfortunate and suffering. It would be morally correct to help the less fortunate. An argument Singer makes is the distinction between a duty and charity. He states, “That a duty is an action that is an obligation and charity is an action of something that is good to do but not obligated” (Singer, 1972, p. 232). An...
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