Moral Responsibility

Topics: Counterargument, Argument map, Duty Pages: 4 (1274 words) Published: July 8, 2013
Moral Responsibility
Brian Hadley
Dr. Maul

Moral Responsibility
Around the world, in many third world countries, human suffering is caused by many causes like ethnic cleansing, starvation, war, poor living conditions, natural disasters, and more. According to Peter Singer (1972) in his article “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” people and governments have not properly done enough to help others in emergency situations, like the situation in East Bengal during the 1970’s where nine million refugees were starving due to lack of food, medical care, and shelter (Pg. 229). This is one example used in Singer’s article to illustrate his argument about the need for moral responsibility to help others in the world. We will examine Singer’s article “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” to help us understand his view on the moral responsibilities which includes his goal and argument, his counter-arguments and responses, his meaning of concepts like marginal utility and how it relates to his argument, compare how duty and charity change in his view of the world, and lastly, I will give my own personal response on his argument.

The goal Singer is trying to achieve is to make others aware of the need for activism and moral response in such emergencies like the one in Bengal, India. According to Singer (1972) “…I 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” (Pg. 230). This can only mean that people and governments in prosperous nations like the U.S. and Great Britain can help others in less developed countries in by offering any type of assistance and there is no excuse for not helping out.

In justifying his argument, Singer offers three counter-arguments and then justifies his position by offering a valid response to these arguments. The first counter argument Singer uses is...

References: ,De Jager, P. (2002). Ethics: Good, evil, and moral duty. Information Management Journal, 36(5), 82-85. Retrieved from Greenspan, P. (2010). Making room for options: Moral reasons, imperfect duties, and choice. Social Philosophy & Policy, 27(2), 181-205. doi:
Mosser, K. (2010). Philosophy. A concise introduction. Retrieved from
Singer, P. (1972). Famine, affluence, and morality. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 1(3), 229-243. Retrieved from JSTOR database.
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