Morality of Giving Essays

Good Essays

How much money is one morally obligated to give to relief overseas? Many In people would say that although it is a good thing to do, one is not obligated to give anything. Other people would say that if a person has more than he needs, then he should donate a portion of what he has. Peter Singer, however, proposes a radically different view. His essay, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” focuses on the Bengal crisis in 1971 and claims that one is morally obligated to give as much as possible. His thesis supports the idea that “We ought to give until we reach the level of marginal utility – that is, the level at which, by giving more, I would cause as much suffering to myself or my dependents as I would relieve by my gift” (399). He says …show more content…

So he is saying If a person saw a child drowning in a lake, he would be morally obligated to try and save him. Any inconvenience caused from wading into the lake would mean nothing compared to letting the child die. Now, if a person would be morally wrong not to save the child who is geographically near him, would he not be obligated to save the child in another country? Is having thousands of miles between the giver and the one in need a good enough reason for him not to have the same obligation to help? The clear conclusion is that, although there are far more people in dire need than one could ever help, one must give as much as he can. One must provide so much support where, by giving more, he would be worse off than the receiver of his gift. While this argument uses reason as it's primary means of convincing, the emotional aspect of it is also very important. The essay attempts to capture the readers emotions by putting them in the situation of seeing a child drown, there is no normal person who wouldn't help. When he asks about providing famine relief to the people in other countries, the reader feels guilt, which strengthens the essay's argument. The ideals presented in his essay present a world where there is no famine or poverty, and people care about about everyone else equally. This is not something that is expected to happen, and certainly not from one persons

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