Hardin vs. Singer

Topics: Rhetoric, Poverty, Ethics Pages: 5 (1932 words) Published: May 8, 2013
Hardin versus Singer Rhetorical Strategies
Picture living in a community where every minute of every day you were hungry, under-clothed, and afraid death because you are poor. A world in which child dies of hunger every 5 seconds. Now imagine waking up and your biggest problem was which sweater to wear with which jeans. Even though this seems hard to imagine, this life of poverty has been a reality for most people for ages. Before the1900s, few wealthy people would ever think about poverty. Two prominent authors were Garrett Hardin and Peter Singer, who wrote essays about human poverty. They questioned whether to confront the issue of poverty or to ignore it. The first essay is "Life Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor" from the ecologist, Hardin who served as Professor of Human Ecology, and psychology today (1974). The second essay, "The Singer Solution to World Poverty," published in The New York Times Magazine is from the Philosopher Singer, who is currently teaching as as Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University (1999). Hardin's essay focuses primarily on the truth that we can either try to save everyone and die trying or save ourselves and let the flourishing live. He specifically discusses the different views on how to truly help the poor. Singer's essay, on the other hand, contains a much more practical discussion arguing that individuals should donate money to overseas aid organizations to help the impoverished. He applied ethics and approaches the dilemma of poverty. Although both writers address the poverty solution, and both include examples of ethos, pathos, and logos, the differing degrees of these rhetorical strategies renders Hardin's essay much more relatable than Singer's more emotional essay. First of all, the two authors establish ethos in different ways in order to gain the trust of their respective audiences. Hardin relies on a mixture of logic to get his argument across to his audience and provides vivid imagery to support it. He comes right out in his essay when he writes, "If we drive the world crudely into rich nations and poor nations, two thirds of them are desperately poor, and only one third comparatively rich, with the United States the wealthiest of all" which gives him obvious credibility to write on the subject of poverty (Hardin 1). He also mentions, "50 people in our life bout" by asking us to imagine ourselves in a lifeboat (Hardin 1). There is room for sixty people on the boat, but there are only fifty sitting in there at the time. Near them are one-hundred others swimming in the water pleading to be in the boat. "Do we pick the best 10, first come, first served? And what do we say to the 90 we exclude?" (Hardin 1). This shows metaphor of the fifty people in the lifeboat represents the rich countries and the others swimming in the water are the poor countries. Singer, on the other hand, relies heavily on appealing to his readers hypothetical examples. Also, he is very straightforward and candid in the presentation of his argument. Instead, he focuses more on the short term. In the beginning, he opens with an example of a needy child saying, “The formula is simple: whatever money you're spending on luxuries, not necessities, should be given away” (Singer 2). This means instead of upgrading your television, you can use the money to save the lives of children in need. Therefore, the utilization of ethos by Hardin establishes credibility because his argument is more logical and plausible, making it more effective; whereas Singer pulls on the emotional strings of his hypothetical examples which make his argument unrealistic and offensive. Aside of establishing credibility, both of Hardin and singer use pathos to a certain degree to appeal to the emotions of their audiences; however, singer's essay was more emotional than Hardin's essay does. Hardin uses emotions much more judiciously by using the tool of language effectively and persuasively. The use of metaphors...
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