final exam

final exam - Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality...

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Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality Tries to show that people in affluent countries like the U.S. have a moral obligation to give far more than we actually do in international aid for famine relief, disaster relief, etc. Thinks that we need to drastically alter our way of life in order to help others Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought morally to do it I can prevent people dying from starvation by giving more money to famine relief than I do now By giving more money to famine relief, I would not be sacrificing anything comparable in moral importance to someone’s dying from starvation Therefore, I should give more to famine relief than I do Drowning child example: o If there is a baby drowning in a shallow pond, you should help it. By going in you get your shoes wet, but don’t lose anything morally significant. Unimportance of proximity/ distance/ multiple agents We need to revise our way of thinking: o Duty vs. charity: wrong not to do it vs. it’s good to do it, but not wrong to refrain from doing it. What’s morally required vs. what’s charitable. Refraining from murder vs. giving to famine relief (until one is sacrificing something morally significant). We need to revise this way of thinking- giving to famine relief should be thought of as a duty, as morally required, as wrong not to do, etc. Stronger version of the general principle: if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby causing something worse to occur, we ought morally to do it. More moderate version of the general principle: if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything morally significant, we ought morally to do it.
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James Otteson: Limits on Our Obligation to Give Objection to Singer: the immorality of failure to help in the pond case does not entail the immorality of failure to help in overseas aid cases. o Singer thinks that it is obvious that we should save the toddler. In the same way, we should give aid to others, because it is morally required to do so. Wrong not to save toddler; wrong not to give to famine relief. o Permits the U.S. to refrain from donating to famine relief if we thereby sacrifice something important o In overseas aid cases, there are uncertainties that don’t apply to pond cases. The two situations are disanalogous One cannot know whether those who are suffering have other means of help available. In the pond case, you know you are the only means by which to save the toddler. In terms of aid, it’s not clear whether you or someone else is better situated to help. One cannot know precisely what help is required.
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2010 for the course PSYC 341 taught by Professor Cap during the Spring '08 term at Maryland.

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final exam - Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality...

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