Analysis of Singer´s The Life You Can Save Essay

Decent Essays

In this paper I will begin by explaining Singer’s utilitarian argument in “The Life You Can Save” regarding the obligation of affluent nations to give in order to alleviate global poverty. Secondly, I will analyze one objection to Singer’s argument that opposes charity. Thirdly, after examining the objection to Singer’s argument, I will present Singer’s noteworthy reply. Finally, after offering both an objection to Singer’s argument, as well as Singer’s rebuttal, I will offer my own view on whether or not Singer’s refutation is convincing. In discussing Singer’s argument, it is important to explain his definition of global poverty. Singer clearly states that extreme poverty is “not only a condition of unsatisfied material needs” but also …show more content…

Singer proposes that “nearly as important” is a vague statement. It connotes that a person cannot say, for example, saving one’s child is more important than saving the lives of multiple children in another country, as a hardened fact. It is perceptibly more important for someone to save his or her child, while to a third party observer more lives saved is morally more important. Therefore, “nearly as important” allows some wiggle room in order to allow people to be honest with themselves about right and wrong. Essentially, Singer says that if an individual has the ability to give, there is no substantial reason not to do so. It is not a question of whether or not to give, but how much.
Singer offers many objections to his argument, but I will focus on the most important one: “If someone wants to buy a new car, they should. If someone wants to redecorate their house, they should, and if they need a suit, get it. They work for their money and they have the right to spend it on themselves” (26). This seems to be the most logical objection to Singer’s argument because humans are inherently selfish. They work for their money and would like to spend it any which way they desire—whether it be to charity or a car—without being chastised and degraded. Many people make enough to send their children to college, own a reliable car, and to occasionally be able to

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