Responding to Singer: On Individualism and Pragmatics Michael Anderson Soh Sheng Rong Matriculation number: U1731581B 22 September 2017 Words: 1917 This paper is written as a response to Singer’s “Famine, Affluence and Morality”. Singer poses what he deems a moral obligation to mankind. That is, we are not just responsible for our personal good and are instead obligated to intervene to rescue others from suffering if we possess the capability to do so. His argument enforces a criterion of forced action that demands the individual takes action, putting forth the claim that apathy when we have the ability to resolve others of misery is immoral. In the first segment of the paper, I attempt to offer a comprehensive explanation of Singer’s view,
“If civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that people must learn to reject.” -Ayn Rand. To be compassionate and unselfish seems to be a noble and magnanimous pursuit. Altruism is admired, it is beautiful, and it is praised. And yet, it goes against our very natures. There is no reason we should sacrifice ourselves to save a dying child.
According to Will Cartwright’s “Killing and letting die: a defensible distinction”, ‘we have duties not to harm others which require restraint from us and may therefore be designed as negative duties. We have duties to help others which require intervention from us and may therefore be designed as positive duties. These duties are different in both scope and force.’ Our negative duty, which is not killing is owed to all others since we are capable to avoid it. However, to consider our positive duty, it is not possible for us to offer assistance to everyone in need and stop all the people from dying. So this duty is hard to fulfill as it is circumscribed and selective.
This is an example of informative social influence (Feist and Rosenberg, 2015). Another factor of the bystander effect can be the cost-benefit analysis. This analysis ascertains whether the situation is too dangerous, where no help can be given (Feist and Rosenberg, 2015). An example can be someone choking on food and giving them a Heimlich without knowing how to perform one. If people acted alone and followed their own intuition, our society would work better for the human race as a
This is because of the earlier premise that it is inherent of humans to be born with selfish desires, thus education is necessary, rather than simply being important, which is Mencius’ views. In other words, as Xunzi believes that humans will perform bad deeds in an neutral environment where no education is present due to the bad human nature, he holds that education and rituals are necessary if a person were to perform good deeds/attain sagehood. However, as Mencius believes that humans will perform good deeds in an neutral environment due to the good human nature, he simply believes that education and rituals are important, not to the extent of
As long as good consequences for the most amount of people will result, it is considered moral. The Pre-Crime system also uses this rationale. Pre-Crime is all about the sacrifice of a few for the good of the many. However, if one were to place oneself into a Pre-Crime would-be criminal’s position, it becomes unjustifiable to punish people like this. After all, no one person wants to be treated as a tool.
Emperor Charles VI, of the Holy Roman Empire, in his royal decree for the Netherlands stated how “those who are poor and sick … unable to earn a living, should receive food and sustenance”, but not those who are idle (Document 2). He understood that idleness led to a wicked life, but only if they are truly unable to earn a living honestly could someone obtain help. As the Holy Roman Emperor, the Catholic ruler at this time, Charles V understood that some poor need help, especially wanting to uphold Catholic doctrine. However, Charles had a country to run and finances to handle, so he wanted to ensure that not all of his money was given to the poor. This was after the Protestant Reformation, when Catholics wanted to continue giving alms to the poor, as it was as God intended it to be, but were unsure who they should give alms to, characterizing the “idle poor” as enemies to God.
Technically, according to the list of ethics listed on the National Institute of Health’s website, there is nothing wrong with creating life from death. Playing god isn’t frowned upon because of religious or moral objections. Instead, it is a feared because of the unintended social consequences that might occur. Victor’s failure to even consider the possibilities, both bad and good, of what his scientific discovery might create clearly violates the code of ethics pertaining to social responsibility. In this case, reviving the dead didn’t promote social welfare or prevent harm.
Some people may answer this question by saying keep them alive by using artificial means. I say no. I firmly believe that this is wrong and you are only prolonging their suffering. Euthanasia is what I believe is the right thing to do in these cases if the sick person would rather go that route. People may ask “Why is it the right thing to do?” In order for people to have an answer to that question they must first know what Euthanasia is and how that if you have the mind set of all life is precious like Kant’s exert in the article of euthanasia chapter three of contemporary moral issues you are being selfish.
The validity and even humanity in animal testing is something on the margins of morale, it is not something done out of joy, it is not pleasurable for the testers or the tested themselves. So there, we are given a reason to submit the simple question of whether animal testing should be permitted at all. Why not simply cut our losses and move on to greener pastures, after all it is indeed the definition of grotesque to experiment on living beings and people may have been right to protest and raise awareness for such cruel misconducts. There must be something that can be done. However, that line of thinking quickly clashes with the fact that with the help of exactly such testing, with the sacrifice of those animal lives, human lives are saved in return.
Singer’s utilitarianism requires a person’s moral responsibility for their actions be determined by the end consequences of that action, while O’Neill holds that responsibility of the individual is determined by the intention of their action. Under Singer, an individual must know the ends of their action will be beneficent to a famine situation. O’Neill believes that the fact that you are providing aid in itself is the action you should be judged through. Thus Kantian ethics sees one’s intentions as crucial to the morality of one’s acts, whereas utilitarian ethics sees only the results of one’s actions as
In addition to Singer’s criticism of affluent nation’s reactions, he proposes that the moral scheme of our society be changed, an argument I agree with to some extent. Singer puts forth two versions of how affluent nations and individuals can prevent suffering and death. The first, his “strong version”, requires one “to prevent bad things from happening unless in doing so we would be sacrificing something of comparable moral significance [which] require[s] reducing ourselves to the level of the marginal utility” (Singer 241). The controversial parts of Singer’s strong version are “comparable moral significance” and “level of marginal utility”. Those phrases are the reason that the strong version is an ideal view instead of a realistic.
As he included, “if it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything morally significant, we ought, morally to do it”(Singer 332). As you said, yes people should help others, but they shouldn’t put themselves in tough situation or “break the bank” trying to help someone else. Also, Singer stated, “The charitable man may be praised, but the man who is not charitable is not condemned” (Singer 334). I think he meant that, it can be the right thing to do to help someone in poverty, but it is not always wrong if you cannot help them. I agree with your opinion that people want to spend money on things that make them happy.
This helps implement the idea there is an anthropocentric view for not torturing animals for it can lead to harm with humans. Premise 4 shows that any suffering is characterized as unnecessary. Premise 5 believes all animal for foods use unnecessary suffering, which is a false premise for not all use suffering on animals to make food. An example would be a slaughter house for cows that use euthanasia to kill them to avoid suffering. The conclusion then states human consumption of any products is justified.