Ppp Final Exam Essay

1038 words - 5 pages

As Peter Singer points out, ethics is not religion, not sexual restriction, nor is it a subjective entity. Ethics involves the human person as an agent of action and focuses on defining the actions that each person makes as either good or bad. However, it is more than just a list of rules telling a person not to cheat, steal, or kill. This is key because one student who cheats on a test may think it is ethically right to do so because he or she needs to earn a good mark in the class, whereas a different student may think it is wrong because cheating would mean a person did not put the effort into studying. Both students are doing what they think is right, even though they are doing two completely different things. One point that Singer makes is that, “The notion of living according to ethical standards is tied up with the notion of defending the way on is living, of giving a reason for it, of justifying it” (9). But usually, if the reason is selfish, people judge it as being unethical because it is for the person’s good, not for others. Therefore, for an action to be truly ethical, it must be unselfish and directed for the good of others.
This kind of ethics is supported by the subfield called utilitarianism, which is a view Singer supports. Utilitarianism weighs the consequences of an action with the benefits. If the action has more benefits than consequences, then the action is ethical. This relies on the assumption that the idea of universality. It is this assumption that all people have the same idea of what an ethical action is that is the basis of Singer’s argument for the principle of equal consideration of interests. The principle of equal consideration of interests puts all people on the same level and does not favour one person over the other. For example, “slavery prevents the slaves from satisfying these interests as they would want to, and the benefits it confers on the slave owners are hardly comparable in importance to the harm it does to the slaves” (Singer 22). According to Singer, without this basis in equality, ethics would not look at the interests of everyone, which would make it pointless for those whose interests are being ignored. It is with these theories that I will base my discussion on the issue of poverty and distribution of wealth.
In our world, there is a real problem with people not having enough resources to survive. Even though people in the upper classes have an abundance of food, water, and clothing, lower classes people are just struggling to survive. This is not only a problem in third-world countries, this is a problem in Canada itself. In 2011, there were 2,595 people living in low-income, 571 of which were children (under 18) (Statistics Canada). “According to UNICEF… 8.8 million children under five years old died from avoidable, poverty related causes in 2008,” (Singer 192). Even though these statistics have gone down since 2009 (Statistics Canada; Singer 192), this is still...

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