This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Famine, Affluence, And Morality Essay

2013 words - 8 pages

“Famine, Affluence, and Morality”

     In “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” Peter Singer is trying to argue that “the way people in relatively affluent countries react to a situation… cannot be justified; indeed,… our moral conceptual scheme needs to be altered and with it, the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society”(Singer 230). Peter Singer provides striking examples to show the reader how realistic his arguments are. In this paper, I will briefly give a summary of Peter Singer’s argument and the assumptions that follow, adding personal opinions for or against Peter’s statements. I hope that within this paper, I am able to be clearly show you my thoughts in regards to Singer.
     Peter Singer organizes his arguments into an outline form allowing a reader to take individual thoughts, adding them together giving a “big picture.” Within the first few pages, Singer shares two guiding assumptions in regards to his argument to which I stated above. The first assumption states “that suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad” (231). Singer steps away from the typical writing style; he states the assumption yet he does not give a personal comment in regards to the assumption. He chooses to do so because the assumption itself is surely uncontroversial; most people would agree, but to those who don’t agree, there are so many possibilities at which to arrive to this assumption that, after all, if they don’t yet comprehend its truth, it would be hard to convince them of its accuracy. Speaking for myself, if I encountered an individual that does not agree to the assumption that death by avoidable causes is bad; I would not hesitate to declare them of being heartless. There are many cases, whether across oceans on foreign land or areas to which we live, where people are dying because of inescapable, unfortunate reasons. Within such cases, even a possible little voice in the back of the head can lead one to wonder who has the responsibility of helping those who are enduring such unnecessary deaths. This sense of wonder leads us to Singer’s second assumption; “if it is in our power to prevent something from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it” (231). To better clarify what this assumption is looking for, Singer points out that “It requires us only to prevent what is bad, and not to promote what is good, and it requires this of us only when we can do it without sacrificing anything that is, from the moral point of view, comparably important” (231). I like how Singer further clarifies his assumption, making it easier for me to understand what seems like a specific instruction “manual” of what we presume to be doing. Although we might sometimes wish that we could ignore certain things in our life, it would be nearly impossible for an individual, or government, to certify being unaware of the happenings to which I have been...

Find Another Essay On Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Famine, Influence And Morality Essay

1966 words - 8 pages developed countries attain a level of affluence that surpasses the boundary of mere survival and in some cases may even greatly surpass it. Many people would agree that they are unconditionally entitled to any luxuries procured by years of hard work and persistence in school and their career. Some may go so far as to say they are even absolutely entitled to any luxuries obtained by matters of chance, such as the lottery and these claims seem to make

Morality of Giving Essay

1215 words - 5 pages 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

Peter Singer

883 words - 4 pages Castro PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 3 Geneva CastroProfessor AllisonEnglish 101/Essay 319 March, 2013Peter Singer's EssayIt is an irrefutable fact that we should help each other. However sometimes help to others poses some danger to either us or others. In Peter Singer's essay "Famine Affluence, and Morality" Peter Singer argues that we ought, morally, to prevent starvation due to famine. Singer begins by saying that assistance has been inadequate as

The Effects of Famine

729 words - 3 pages everything they can to keep alive. Civilization and morality is nothing at that time. It is impossible to help others because food is limited. You can't expect a hungry man to help another hungry man. Also, lack of morality is mainly in the crimes. During the famine the law doesn't apply to people because the hungry want to survive badly and the government is chaotic. The hungry only have two choices, whether to commit crimes or to die. Usually people

The Effects of Famine

729 words - 3 pages everything they can to keep alive. Civilization and morality is nothing at that time. It is impossible to help others because food is limited. You can't expect a hungry man to help another hungry man. Also, lack of morality is mainly in the crimes. During the famine the law doesn't apply to people because the hungry want to survive badly and the government is chaotic. The hungry only have two choices, whether to commit crimes or to die. Usually people

Duty versus Charity: Why a Distinction is Essential

1552 words - 7 pages In the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s, the South Asian region of East Bengal (then East Pakistan, now the country of Bangladesh) was undergoing a severe famine, due to rampant poverty, a civil war and frequent cyclones. The lack of overseas help to this impoverished region was probably what triggered Peter Singer to write the article Famine, Affluence and Morality, wherein he claims that world hunger and famine can be prevented and possibly

Global Poverty

761 words - 4 pages Peter Singer, in his influential essay “Famine, Affluence and Poverty”, argues that affluent people have the moral obligation to contribute to charity in order to save the poor from suffering; any spending on luxuries would be unjustified as long as it can be used to improve other’s lives. In developing his argument, Singer involves one crucial premise known as the Principle of Sacrifice—“If it is in our power to prevent something bad from

World Hunger - Philosophy of ethics paper - Philosophy 120

1796 words - 8 pages someone in need? Overall this will increase the happiness on both sides. The rich countries will be happy in knowing they helped someone in need (or in knowing they have done the right thing). While the poor countries will be happy because they are receiving the benefits of the donations. As stated by Singer in Famine, Affluence, and Morality, “The decision and actions of human beings can prevent this kind of suffering” (835). Only the rich

Should People Living in more Affluent Countries Have the Moral Obligation to Provide for the Poor in Other Parts of the World

1512 words - 7 pages In this paper I will look at the argument made by Peter Singer in his paper, “Famine, Affluence and Morality” which advocates that those people living in more affluent countries have a moral obligation to provide assistance to the poor in other parts of the world. I will first outline the basic premise of Singer’s argument supporting this moral obligation and whether it is a sound argument. Secondly, I will look at an alternative view provided

On Poverty and Action

1875 words - 8 pages Peter Singer's paper “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”has made a drastic impact in modern applied ethics. The simple nature of the paper makes for an easy read, yet the point clearly set out by Singer is at ends with the targeted audiences' popular beliefs. Although most will object to Singer's idea by throwing away a basic principle of most moral theories, I wish to deny Singer's solution by showing that the ability to apply Singer's conclusion

Giving to the Hungry

1652 words - 7 pages , G. (1974, September). Lifeboat ethics: the case against helping the poor. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.garretthardinsociety.org /articles/art_lifeboat_ethics_case_against_helping_poor.html Singer, P. (1972, April 1). Famine, affluence, and morality. Philosophy & public affairs, 1(3), 229-243. doi:10.2307/j100428

Similar Essays

"Famine, Affluence And Morality", Article By Peter Singer

700 words - 3 pages In "Famine, Affluence, and Morality" Peter Singer argues that affluent individuals, in fact, almost all of us are living deeply immoral lives by not contributing to the relief and prevention of famine. The causes of famine are various and include human wrongdoing, but this doesn't matter, according to Singer. What matters is that each of us can minimize the effects of the famines that are now occurring and can take steps to prevent those that

Peter Singer's Argument In Famine, Affluence And Morality

1777 words - 8 pages This paper explores Peter Singer’s argument, in Famine, Affluence, and Morality, that we have morally required obligations to those in need. The explanation of his argument and conclusion, if accepted, would dictate changes to our lifestyle as well as our conceptions of duty and charity, and would be particularly demanding of the affluent. In response to the central case presented by Singer, John Kekes offers his version, which he labels the and

The Problem Of Poverty In Famine, Affluence, And Morality By Peter Singer

1259 words - 6 pages Peter Singer is often regarded as one of the most productive and influential philosophers of modern times. He is well-known for his discussions of the acute social, economic, and political issues, including poverty and famines. In his “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, Singer (1972) discusses the problem of poverty and hunger, as well as the way this problem is treated in the developed world. Singer believes that charity is inseparable from

An Essay On Peter Singer, The Author Of Famine, Affluence, And Morality

639 words - 3 pages Peter Singer, the author of Famine, Affluence, and Morality, attempts to distinguish between obligation and charitable motivations. He tries to show that wealthy people should do more to help the people of the world who are needy and suffering from famine. Many people think that giving to famine relief is a good deed, but is optional. Singer believes it is mandatory and morally justified for the fortunate to help the deprived as much as possible