An Analysis Of Famine, Affluence, And Morality By Peter Singer

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In “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” Peter Singer argues that some morally good actions, such as donating to relief funds and charitable organizations, should be duties. His argument is as follows: 1) Suffering and death are bad, whether from starvation, lack of shelter, or insufficient medical care. (P1) 2) We are morally obligated to prevent bad things from happening if we are able to do so and we would not sacrifice anything morally equivalent in the process. (P2) 3) Suffering and death in the world can be relieved by monetary donations. (P3) C) We ought to donate as much as we can provided we don’t sacrifice anything of comparable moral importance. (from P1, P2, P3) Singer accepts the first premise that death and starvation from lack of basic needs are bad, which is difficult to dispute. …show more content…

In his paper, Singer also introduces a qualified version of P2 that states we are not required to prevent an evil if we must sacrifice anything morally significant to do so. The qualified version tempers his argument so that some actions required under the original premise would not be required under the qualified version. For example, if the only way you can send enough money to people devastated by a hurricane is to donate the funds raised for a new school library, you ought to donate the money according to the original premise. However, by the qualified version, misappropriating funds and denying schoolchildren a library is morally wrong, so you are not morally required to donate the money to the relief fund. I will focus on the original version of Singer’s argument in this essay because Singer prefers the stronger

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