Analysis of “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”
PHI 200: Mind and Machine
August 20, 2012
In Peter Singer’s article “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” there are a few items that require further discussion. Peter Singer critiques our ordinary ways of thinking and in spite, very few people have accepted his conclusions. I will discuss Peter Singer’s goal and his presented argument in relation to this issue. In return, I will also mention the three counter-arguments to his position and the responses made by Singer. It is important to define Singer’s concept of marginal utility and to show the relation to his argument. We will need to compare how the ideas of duty and charity change in Singer’s proposed world. Finally, in conclusion my own personal response will be made to Singer’s argument either supporting his position, going against his position, or simply in the middle of his position. To begin one must truly understand the definition of an argument in the terms of philosophy. “For philosophers, then, the term "argument" doesn't imply the idea it often does when we use the term to suggest anger, emotion, and hurt feelings. Rather, in this context, arguments simply present a conclusion and suggest why certain reasons indicate that conclusion is true, or probable” (Mosser K, 2010).
Within his work, Peter Singer presents an argument that the people who live in affluent countries, the developed world, must drastically change their way of life and their conception of morality in order to help those in need. He begins by giving us an example of a case of famine, Bengal 1971, where people have been suffering and no one was doing anything to even try to alleviate the problem, this includes the government. I have summarized his arguments in the following ways: 1. Suffering caused by the lack of food, shelter, and medical care services is bad, and 2. If we can prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing...
References: Mosser, K. (2010). Philosophy: A concise introduction. San Diego, CA: Bridge point Education, Inc.
Singer, P. (1972). Famine, Affluence, and Morality. Philosophy and Public Affairs,229-243.
THE ASSOCIATED, P. (2012, January 19). Report Finds Slow Response To Famine. New York Times. p. 3.
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