The Need for Assistance in Third World Countries

Topics: Morality, Utilitarianism, Ethics Pages: 1 (378 words) Published: November 20, 2005
Peter Singer's paper entitles "Famine, Affluence, and Morality" offers a powerful ethical statement that for most would be hard to adhere to. He states his opinion from a utilitarian point view, searching for the greatest good for the greatest number of people. He applies this theory to the problem of famine in East Bengal basing his argument one underlying rationale, "it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything morally significant, we morally should do it". Therefore, Singer believes that those living in affluent countries should provide monetary support to those in countries of need. His thesis is stated as "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, and with it, the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society" (Singer).In stating his arguments for such aid, he also defends against possible arguments against his belief. He contends that proximity should not play a role in whether or not aid should be given. He argues that that is irrelevant because a person's distance from the problem is itself irrelevant to whether we ought to help him if we can, Singer also defends the rebuttal of "vagueness", which is concerned with what people consider morally significant. He describes both a "strong" and "moderate" approach to his principle. The strong approach contends that one should prevent suffering unless in doing so we would be sacrificing something of a comparable moral significance. The weak approach contends that we should prevent suffering unless sin doing so we sacrifice something morally significant. Singer supports the strong approach, but also proposes that the moderate version allows for some sort of personal change in judgment. Also, within the article Singer uses an example wherein he compares the need of assistance of...
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