Philosphy

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Rachel Kluge
Term Paper- Spring

Assume that on your way to work you see a child drowning in a near by pond. You are his only option for safety seeing that you are the only one around. If you don’t act to save the child, he will probably drown. However, saving him means ruining your new shoes, your clothes, and making yourself late for work. “What should you do?” Most everyone that I know would respond that you should save the child, I mean why not? Compared to the value of his life, ruining your new shoes, muddying your clothes, and making yourself late for work don’t matter at all. Most of us are absolutely certain that we wouldn’t hesitate to save a drowning child. Yet while thousands of children die each day, we spend money on things we take for granted and would hardly notice if they were not there. Is that so wrong? (Singer, 12). There are countless debates on this predicament. In this essay I will explain some of them. I will first describe the utilitarianism view by Singer, and the deontology view by Kant, after that I will apply what both of them have to say to the drowning child situation, and conclude on my view. Peter Singer is a utilitarian. Utilitarianism in philosophy is a doctrine that the morally correct course of action consists in the greatest good for the greatest number, that is, in maximizing the total benefit resulting, without regard to the distribution of benefits and burdens. Singer gives his argument like this- First Premise: Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care is bad. Second Premise: If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so. Third Premise: By donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering from lack of food, shelter, and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important. Conclusion: Therefore, if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong, this action is morally right...
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