Famine, Affluence and Morality

Peter Singer

Singer’s Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Ametra Heard
Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Instructor Zummuna Davis
January 14, 2013

Singer’s Famine, Affluence, and Morality
In the Peter Singer’s article “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, he discusses the way that people should take moral in their help toward the support of the Bengal famine crisis. Singer states three obligations that would help the Bengal region through the means of a wealthy person, and those individuals living life on a day to day basis. In this paper I will expound on Singer’s goal for each obligation, explain the three counter-arguments with Singer’s response, define and identify marginal utility as it relates to Singer’s arguments, and compare the ideas of duty and charity. At the close of this paper I will state my own personal response to Singer’s ideas on famine, affluence, and morality.

Singer’s goal in his article is to inform people of the famine of a Bengal, starving country, how they can decrease the starvation of a society if contributions were given by all individuals or those with the greater financial statuses. Singer suggests that it should be moral to help those in need without causing the same effect upon them. Singer gives three counter-arguments that explain his ideas on the fact for his moral reasoning. Singer states, “he shall argue that the way people in relatively affluent countries react to a situation like that in Bengal cannot be justified; indeed, the whole way we look at moral issues—our moral conceptual scheme—needs to be altered, and with it, the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society” (Singer, 1972). Singer’s argument can be summed as: 1. Death and suffering caused by lack of nourishments, home dwellings, and/or healthcare issues are bad. 2. If someone can prevent something bad from happening without giving up something of equal moral importance, then they should. 3. One must contribute much as they possibly...
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