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Affluence, Morality, and the Power of Argument

Affluence, Morality, and the Power of Argument - Ryan Amann...

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Ryan Amann Affluence, Morality, and the Power of Argument 12/8/11 In Affluence, Morality, and the Power of Argument , Peter Singer discusses human decisions and actions about aiding other potentially ailing human beings, and if these actions are enough. Singer proposes a new moral code for aiding other humans because he claims, with good reason, that we are currently not doing enough. Although the problem is easy to identify, the solution is not as easy to come up with. Singer encounters the most amount of difficulty with his argument in attempting to decide where to “draw the line between conduct that is required and conduct that is good although not required, so as to get the best possible result [?]” (Singer 390). He has trouble explaining the precise stance that society should have on the issue. Despite his occasionally overwhelming quantifications, Singer presents an intriguing case about the charitableness of people and their individual responsibilities when examining society as a whole. Singer’s main argument of the article is as follows: (1) if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, then we ought to do it. (2) Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad, but can be prevented without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance (3) we ought to prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care. Although this is a long-winded argument, it is valid. The first two premises are both true and logical, and the conclusion is as well. Though the two premises above, in addition to the conclusion, are true, this is not
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always the case. Oftentimes an argument can be logically valid (the premises entail the truth of its conclusion) and can contain at least one false premise, which renders the conclusion false. An example of this could go something like: (1) if a basketball player can dunk, then that player is tall. (2) A basketball player can dunk, (3) and that basketball player is tall. The basketball player being exemplified is Spud Webb, of course, and the argument (more specifically, the first premise) being exemplified is false. The false conclusion results from the false premise (1). In this example, a valid argument has only one true premise (2), which is actually more of an assumption than a premise. The point remains the same, though. Even if there is only one false premise in a valid argument, it can cause the conclusion to be falsified.
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