Moral Obligations about Charity views of Peter Singer and John Arthur

Topics: Morality, Rights, Poverty / Pages: 5 (1804 words) / Published: Jun 22nd, 2014
Moral Obligations about Charity views of Peter Singer and John Arthur
By Amy Gallaher

The fact that we can afford to provide for ourselves even beyond our basic needs bring an important question. Is it then our duty to provide financial assistance to those who do not have enough to provide for their own basic needs? Peter Singer, in his piece, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” would argue that we ought to prevent bad things from happening without sacrificing something of equal importance. Here is the argument Peter Singer presents to us in standard form:
1) Millions of people are suffering from hunger every day.
2) Suffering and death from hunger is bad.
3) If it is within our power to prevent something bad from happening without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought to morally do so.
4) It is within the power of affluent people to prevent hunger by sacrificing only their luxuries, which are of lesser moral importance.

However, John Arthur disagrees with Singer’s conclusion in his piece, “World Hunger and Moral Obligation: The Case against Singer” and believes that although we should help those in need, it is not imperative to do so. John Arthur’s argument in basic form looks like this:
1) Singer says that all affluent people have a moral obligation to give their money to poor people to the extent that the affluent person would be on the same level as the poor person.
2) Poor people have no positive right to our assistance, because affluent people made no contract to do so.
3) Affluent people have a negative right to their property, which weighs against their obligation. Therefore, the obligation that Singer imposes on affluent people is not as extensive as Arthur. I will analyze both sides of this argument and in the end, propose my own position on this subject.

Singer’s main point as stated above is that we ought to prevent bad things from happening without having to sacrifice something of

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