In his paper, Singer argues that if it is in our power to stop very bad things from happening, without sacrificing anything morally significant, we ought to do it. Singer also asserts that this principle only applies to significant, life threatening situations and not necessarily the broad spectrum of morality. Singer supports his argument logically by first affirming commonly held beliefs and combining the separate belief to formulate his new idea of morality. This form of argumentation is simply effective because if it holds that the premises are true then his argument must be true. Because of the simplicity of his argument, it is easy for me to agree that his argument is true that it is the people’s moral duty to help those in critical
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.
Singer makes the argument that wealthy people living a successful life should help those suffering in poorer countries around the world. He starts his argument by stating two principles. One is that no matter what the cause is death and suffering are bad. Second is that if one can prevent something morally bad from happening and not cause moral trouble for oneself they should do it. Singer uses
John Arthur's main point in his article is about the degree of helping others should be reasonable and the cost of helping others should not be too significant. He believes that it's not logical to expect people to make a large sacrifice for a stranger or who live far away and our currently moral code is suitable and does`t need any revision or correction. He illustrates that our duty to help the others is a sort of positive right that can not have existed but by a contract or agreement. Arthur verses Singer believes that nobody is obligated to helping others. He argues that the moral rules ought to respect the people right and people are entitled to what they have and what they like to decide about their daily finances.
But while it looks easy on paper, it is much harder than it appears. Singer uses unrealistic scenarios to guilt the reader into donating. For example, he refers to a Brazilian film “Central Station.” A woman, Dora, can make $1,000 if she can persuade a homeless 9-year-old to follow her to an address, where the boy is to be adopted by foreigners. She delivers the boy, and buys a new TV set with the money she has made. Later on the woman learns that the boy has been sold to organ peddlers, and he will soon be killed. The inference Singer is trying to make is that there's no difference between someone who sells a child to organ peddlers, and an American upgrading their television set, because both are “ethically wrong” due to the fact that the money could have been donated. But is passive selfishness really on the same level as the direct murder of an innocent child? Despite the fact that the money for a TV set could save a child's life, it is far different, than the brutal murder of a small boy. The comparison is simply absurd, and this is not the only time he uses it. In another scenario, a man is on the train tracks and is torn between saving a child or his Bugatti from a runaway train. The man throws the switch, redirecting the train and saving his Bugatti. The boy is killed. These two, farfetched scenarios were used to show that we too have the chance to save a child’s life. Writers, politicians, philosophers, religious leaders, try and guilt you into donating. And according to Singer, those who choose not to give away their money, are compared to the many Germans who looked away when the Nazi horrors were being committed, which is another outlandish
In Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, he describes how he believes everyone’s approach to global poverty should be. He starts by describing how people in many places in the world are dying from hunger, having no shelter or access to medical care. Other people have the ability to stop this from happening if they make the right decisions. He compares Britain’s use of money, using three times more for certain projects than they’ve used to give to the needy, which he says shows they care more about these projects than those lives. He then says that he’s going to argue why this is wrong, and how affluent countries should be using their money and why. First he says that dying from starvation or lack of food is bad, a premise we should all accept for one reason or another. His next point is that if we have the power to prevent something bad without sacrificing something of equal or greater value, then we have the moral obligation to do it. He compares this to a child drowning in a pond, you have the obligation to go and pull the child out of the pond and help them, your clothes will get wet and dirty, but this is insignificant compared to the child’s death. He then
In his article, Famine, Affluence, and Morality, Singer tries to emphasize the importance of helping those in need. He believes that if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening without sacrificing anything else of moral importance then we have a moral obligation to do it. (Singer, 231). By this, Singer means that each and every one of us has the power to prevent the terrible things that negatively affects the world. For example, if we are in a situation where we have the ability to prevent something morally wrong from happening but we let it pass by, he describes this as not just laziness but moral wrongdoing. Singer argues if you come across a child who is drowning and it is easy to wade in and rescue the child but by
The most powerful effective stance Singer conveys is an appeal to a wide range of views. Singer's view on our moral obligation to help the world's poor is naturally direct and stands on the two premises: if we can prevent something bad without sacrificing something of comparable significance we ought to do it, and that extreme poverty throughout the world is bad (Taylor, 2009). He continues to use his pathos argument in the heart of helping our fellow man is the right thing to do (Wilhoit,
There are many different ways to save lives and to say that donating most of your earnings to charities or to sacrifice valuables to help save other people is absurd. In Paragraph 22, Singer gives a full rundown on how much an American household income is spent on necessities and says that the rest of your money should be spent in donations. In American households there is not many people that have a lot of money leftover to where they can donate or even buy things for themselves. Singer is crazy to say we should give the rest of our money to donating into saving lives when we should be able take care of ourselves before we worry about
Singer’s argument to world famine is giving charity is neither charitable nor generosity, but it’s an obligation to give money out and if you don’t, then it’s morally wrong. He states we as individuals have a duty to help reduce poverty and death because of starvation. Singer argues, suffering and death due to the lack of food, is terrible. Hence we have the power to help those group of people. By that, people can cut down the famine and suffering by giving famine relief and in doing so, we as individuals have to give a certain amount of money from our standard of living. This fails to recognize people’s own intrinsic moral values because Singer says we must always make the morally best decision.
Morality is not a binary, it’s a spectrum. There’s no “all or nothing” of being a good person: instead, there are degrees, and falling closer to the middle of the spectrum is actually far more common than resting at either extreme. When Singer proposes to donate until “the point where if you give any more, you will be sacrificing something nearly as important” (Singer 18), he is suggesting a lifestyle that exists completely at the moral extreme; and, when he states that it is wrong to do otherwise, he places anyone who disagrees with him at the immoral extreme. These extremes exist as a frame for ethics, but realistically it’s impossible to spend one’s entire life there without burning out. Real life obstacles get in the way of being saint-like, such as stress, anxiety, depression, etc., sometimes to the point where even if one could still give more in theory, doing so in actuality would cause them to crack. So, while I believe it’s important to bear these extremes in mind as something to strive for, I do not think it is immoral to rest somewhere in the
To start off his article, Singer proposes a hypothetical situation of a women named Dora who gained $1000 by taking a boy to a random address thinking the boy will be adopted, but comes to find out he just got sold for his organs. Then he provides another hypothetical situation of a man named Bob who potentially does or does not save the life of a boy because it would destroy his car, and he wouldn’t be able to physically save the child. Lastly, he brings up the idea of call in donations to organizations such as UNICEF and Oxfam America. All three of these main ideas have no solution to world poverty. Singer tries to connect them by saying that people need to be more moral, but he lacks the instructions on how one would do so.
To show that there is little moral relevance between failing to rescue a child at some small cost to yourself, and failing to save a starving child in a faraway country at some similarly small cost I will be exploring an argument proposed by Singer. In doing this I will be looking into his strong and weak principles; how he would apply them and some of the criticisms of his point of view.
If you were in a lifeboat and there were people drowning, what would you do? It’s a difficult question to answer because it’s a question that is relevant in today’s society. The world, as it is today, is significantly poor and has many people and nations that need help. One must ask oneself if it’s worth it or not, to help these people. Of course, being a good person and helping others is different from dedicating one's life work to the poor or giving up all of America's tax dollars to other nations who only take what we give them for granted. This thought process is explored in Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor by Garrett Hardin . On the other hand, in The Singer Solution to World Poverty by Peter Singer, people with good
Peter Singer, a utilitarian philosopher who specializes in applied ethics, is known either as infamous or famous depending on one’s philosophy. Singer has spoken on a multitude of sensitive topics throughout his career drawing praise and controversy. Notably you can find Singer’s position on solving world poverty in his essay “The Solution to World Poverty”. In his essay, he attempts to persuade readers to follow his thought that it is immoral not to give all your excess wealth to penurious children. To a degree, he accomplishes his objective within the first half of his essay, using two hypothetical examples that appeal to emotion. However, Singer’s case falls short of completely selling his utilitarian philosophy, due to his disconnect with the reality of human nature.