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Explain Peter Singer’s Argument That There Is No Morally Significant Difference Between Bob, Who Decides To Let A Child Die Rather Than Sacrifice

859 words - 4 pages

Singer aims to establish charitable giving as a moral obligation of those who posses more money than that which is needed to meet basic living costs. He concocts a thought experiment with an apparent conclusion that strongly favours altruistic behaviour, and uses this to affirm his belief that everyone should give away absolutely everything that they can afford to. He relates the choice of not giving to charity as being comparable in moral wretchedness to the act of allowing a child to die in front of you, so as not to lose your prized, albeit unnecessary, luxury possessions. Singer proceeds, with the use of some statistics, to attempt to outline just how much the average American is ...view middle of the document...

The figure of two-hundred dollars in aid is produced as being adequate to cover the cost of saving one child's life. For most Americans, Singer decides this is an insignificant sum to give, and the child's life is intrinsically more valuable than whatever luxuries would otherwise be purchased. He contends that there is no reason to hold onto any more money than what is needed for basic living costs, and so we should all give away every last cent that we can.
As a Utilitarian, Singer finds no morally relevant distinction between acts that contribute towards the deaths from poverty, and those omissions that do nothing to prevent such deaths. All that matters are the consequences. In a similar vein, Singer rejects the contention that one only is responsible for their 'fair share' in alleviating poverty. He concedes that if everyone were to give a reasonable financial contribution to charity and have everyone's needs met, then no one would be compelled to give anything beyond their portion of the 'fair share'. However, if not everyone donates their fair portion to charity, others are not off the hook for the missing funds. In fact, Singer would argue that they should now be compelled to give more, to compensate for everyone else's moral ineptitude. As long as there is still need, Singer believes people should give up every luxury and put their money towards the basic needs of others. Another possible objection might be that it should be the responsibility of governments to ensure aid money is sourced from taxes. Singer...

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