A Argument Evaluation, Singer : Morality 's Ambivalent Behavior

836 Words Jul 31st, 2016 4 Pages
Second Argument Evaluation, Singer: Morality’s Ambivalent Behavior in the Face of Affluence In the piece “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” Peter Singer puts forth his argument that “if it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything else morally significant, we ought, morally, to do it,” (Cahn, 505). In his argument Singer claims that men have the moral responsibility to prevent suffering when it does not negatively impact “himself or his dependents” (Cahn, 508), and that the refusal of this prescribed human duty makes him morally incompetent. The extended example that Singer uses as the basis of his argument is the mass famine that struck East Bengal in the 1970s, an issue that received much media coverage, yet—despite its fame—received little help from affluent countries and their constituents. In using this example, Singer exemplifies the ignorance of the prosperous bodies as they chose to allow tragedy to strike the destitute Indians, though those destitute Indians had no choice in their tragedy. In situations like the Bengal famine, Singer claims we must do, within our appropriate means, everything possible to stop the suffering of others who cannot alleviate the misfortunes themselves. In fact, it is our duty—not an act of charity—that we aid in the welfare of others, regardless of our proximity or perceived responsibility to them. And, according to Singer, to ignore this moral obligation of providing necessary…

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