In Famine, Affluence, And Morality, Peter Singer Argues

1553 WordsMay 24, 20177 Pages
In Famine, Affluence, and Morality, Peter Singer argues for the utilitarian system of ethics. To thoroughly understand this system, one must first accept the notion that the individual has a moral obligation to prevent something bad from happening if it is in their power to do so. For Singer, there is no inherently good moral compass one must strictly abide by. Actions that are considered good or bad differ based on the situation in question. Contrarily, Immanuel Kant asserts that there is intrinsic good in the world in Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Kant calls this phenomenon the “good will” (527) and claims that this will is always good, even if acting upon it does not result in any positive outcomes. The argument that he makes…show more content…
We are equally morally obligated to help both without discriminating against either. Utilitarian ethics state that a course of action should be taken by considering the most positive outcome. This system of ethics argues that while some actions are not naturally good, they should be taken if the result of the action is positive. Singer believes that we must give maximally if we don’t want to sacrifice anything of equal moral importance. Singer believes that our system of how we judge what is moral needs to be fixed when he writes of “our moral conceptual scheme—[which] needs to be altered, and with it, the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society” (518). When we apply the utilitarian system of ethics to the real world, perhaps we find it hard to accept the argument of geographic removal Singer writes about (520). Singer claims that it makes no difference if one helps their neighbor or someone who is thousands of miles away. While humans are naturally more inclined to help those faces they are familiar with, morally it makes sense that good will be regarded as good, no matter where it is. In his work, Kant introduces the concept of duties and specific applications of inherent good will. He identifies three logical statements, the first of which is that actions are truly good when they are undertaken for the sake of duty alone. This means that those who offer help or solution to an ethical dilemma do not do so out of empathy, but for the
Open Document