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Peter Singer And Moral Decisions Essay

936 words - 4 pages

Singer explains the reasoning beg=hind his thesis by offering the reader a thought experiment from Unger’s book called “Living high and letting die”. In the experiment a scenario is presented where a child is on a train track and a train is headed towards him and is surely going to kill shim. Now, a man named Bob has the opportunity to save the child. In order to do so he would have to divert the train by throwing a switch. But by doing so he would also wreck his prized and expensive Bugatti. The car is also an investment for his future. Singer correctly assumes that most of the people would condemn Bob for not sacrificing a material object in order to save a life. Singer claims that though ...view middle of the document...

People claim that they should not be asked to contribute more than their fair share. In order to refute this line of reasoning, Singer stretches the Bob thought experiment a little further and includes multiple wealthy people with their own cars and own switches. Here too the child's life is at stake. Peter is comparing the multiple wealthy car owners with the people "...able but unwilling to donate...” From this hypothetical scenario Singer wants us to come to the conclusion that even though no one else seems to be acting in a moral way, it doesn’t change one's own responsibilities. The individual obligations remains the same i.e. to spend our money only on necessities and giving the rest to charities. As Singer says "The formula is simple...” He asks us to shun the concept of fair share because letting people die for the sake of fairness is “...taking fairness too far...”

In order to reach a moral decision, one should not be guided by public opinions unless one wishes to fall prey to 'mob mentality'. Similarly, to claim that my contributions to charity should depend on what other people are giving is unjustifiable. My responsibilities should remain same regardless of other people's opinions. And these obligations must be based on my personal financial health and should not have to increase or decrease in order to compensate for other's lack of response.

Peter Singer advocates a demanding and severe philosophy where morality is based on personal responsibility. Though his arguments sound convincing when taken in context to the thought experiments, but are they practical? When taken in context of the real life implications of applying...

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