A Review of Peter Singer's Famine, Affluence and Morality
PHI 208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning
8 July 2013
Singer's goal in the article Famine, Affluence and Morality is to try and get people to understand their moral obligation to help those in need. He uses a refugee camp as an example that people are starving to death. But when you look at the article as a whole, he is trying to show an even bigger picture. There are people suffering all over the world, and there are those who can do something to ease that suffering. Many people choose to turn a blind eye to what is going on around them. They expect the government to step in to provide the necessary aid. As a society don't we have a moral obligation to take care of not only those we see suffering, but also people in other countries who are less fortunate than us.
One of the counter arguments presented in this article is that there are millions of people all over the world who are suffering on a daily bases. Why should the refugees in Bengali take precedence over any other country where there are people starving and dying? It's the idea that people get in their minds how can I, one person make a difference? Or why should I give to aid relief if no else is? Singer's response to this argument is that we still have a moral obligation to help when we see someone in need. If everyone always had the mindset of what good will my help be or I'll wait for someone to do it first, then no one would ever get any help.
Another counter argument is that overseas aid should be the responsibility of that countries government. The counter argument from the article gives the following reason for not giving to private charities " giving privately, it is said, allows the government and the noncontributing members of society to escape their responsibilities." (Singer,1972) Singers response to this unfounded assumption is that if no one gives than the...
References: 1. Gramzinski, M (2012) The Ineffectiveness of Foreign Aid. Retrieved from
2. Mosser, K. (2010) Philosophy a concise introduction. Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
3. No Kid Hungry (nd) Retrieved from http://www.nokidhungry.org/problem/overview
4. Singer, P. (1972) Famine, Affluence, and Morality. Retrieved from
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