Famine, Affluence, And Morality By Peter Singer Essay

866 Words Feb 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
In his essay, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, Peter Singer begins with the assumption that famine should be eradicated, based upon the generally wide held principle that the suffering created by lack of food is bad. He then sets up the general basis for his argument which is: “if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable importance, we ought, morally, to do it” (Singer 231). From this general idea, Singer outlines the reasons why it is a person’s moral duty to prevent famine and how a person should help alleviate famine, all of which can be backed by the theory of utilitarianism.
Singer claims that a person has the duty morally to give in order to prevent something bad from occurring. Singer advocates that an individual practice marginal utility, which is when the person giving reaches the same material level as the person who is receiving the charity (236). His claim for this follows that it would alleviate the most suffering, however, he also puts forth a more moderate proposal, as his general claim suggests, which is only giving if a person is not sacrificing anything of moral significance. Though Singer is more in favor of the adoption of marginal utility, he claims that either can be adopted by individuals as they will both alleviate the suffering of those facing famine. In addition, following from this, an individual must condemn those spending on non-essential needs and not giving to famine…

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