PHI 240 HE 1
Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer
The Elements of Reason #8
1. Use two or three sentences to state the main purpose or argument in this article. In other words, what is the argument the author is making? (This should be a specific argument. We all know that the authors are writing about morality and ethics.)
The main purpose or argument in this article is that Peter Singer believes that richer nations should give assistance to other nations who are in need, in order to prevent unnecessary suffering and death. He used the situation in East Bengal in 1971 as an example for when he argued that no nations at the government level had given the sort of massive aid that was required to help the refugees survive for any extended period of time. He also argued that human being’s at the individual level weren’t doing enough either, because according to him not enough of them had been donating large sums of money to relief funds.
2. What support or reasons does the author use to prove his/her argument? List at least three here with quotes.
Singer backs up his argument by giving examples of a couple nations that had donated a certain amount of relief funds and then compared that number to the amount of money those same nations spent on, according to him, “unnecessary things”. He used an example of Britain donating 14,750,000 pounds, but pointed out that they were also currently working on a transportation system that would cost them an estimated 440,000,000 pounds when it was all said and done. His conclusion for this was “the implication is that the British government values a supersonic transport more than thirty times as highly as it values the lives of the nine million refugees” (Singer, Pg. 721). In my personal opinion that is the most moronic statement I think I’ve read in this entire textbook so...
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