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Famine, Affluence, and Morality

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Peter Singer - "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"

Within the article written by Peter Singer: "Famine, Affluence and Morality"; Peter describes individuals' way of thinking about famine and charity. The article also looks at the ways people can contribute a number of different ways to help the needy. There are not many people who have accepted or acted upon the conclusions that Peter presented in the article. I do believe that Peter's article shows that individuals could do considerably more than they are actually doing these days. These people do not agree with or have not adopted his way of thinking about their own strengths and abilities to help others.

With his theory on these issues earlier philosophers stuck to using logic and their meaning. Philosophers in every field, including ethics, began their arguments with evidence of each event as well as support for the meaning of his or her thoughts toward the issue at hand. This allows for moral arguments and accepted study of concrete public policies. Within the article, Peter states that "people who live in different countries must radically change their way of life and their conception of morality so that they will become committed to helping those whom are in need". Peter begins by asking us to consider a case on famine, such as the one in Bengal in 1971. People were suffering and neither the governments nor individuals did anything close to what would be required to relieve the famine. Peter would create his argument by using the following two principles: First, suffering and death are bad whether from hunger, deficient housing, or inadequate medical care. Second, if one is in a position to prevent a morally bad state of affairs without sacrificing something of roughly equal moral importance one should do so.

From the first accepted act of conduct, we learn to help those who are suffering or dying. Individuals look differently at ways of helping people. Some believe their efforts will not make that much of a difference so they choose not to help and it does affect everyone negatively. When looking at both of these principles together, they show that it is one's obligation to help others who are in the need of help. This issue will always be here if others who are in the position to help but choose not to. Peter wants us to help others who are in the need but not everyone will agree with the issue and/or follow his reasoning.

Peter concludes these arguments by adding that he could get by with a weaker version of the second principle, which would have something of a moral significance in place of roughly equal moral importance. Peter also provides an example of his views on the second principle; "If one is in a position to save a child drowning in a pond, one should rescue the child even though that means dirtying one's clothes, because that is not a morally



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