Famine, Affluence And Morality By Peter Singer

1027 Words 4 Pages
In his essay, Peter Singer argues that humans have the skills and resources necessary to end suffering in the world. He says that to do this we are each morally obligated to give as much as we are able without negative consequences on ourselves. He also states that in order for this to be achieved as a moral code, our structure of society must be changed. In this paper, I will argue that Peter Singer adequately presents his argument. I will also raise an objection to his argument and state his refutation of that objection. The objection raised is that charity and duty are separated by a line in our society which conflicts with Peter Singer’s argument. In the essay “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” Peter Singer addresses the idea that people …show more content…
A reasonable objection is that in our society we have a distinct line drawn between charity and duty which conflicts against what Peter Singer argues. In our Western society, duty is seen as something we must do, but charity is not required. If someone is to do an act of charity, such as donating to famine relief, they are praised and put on a pedestal. However, those who do not participate in charity face no repercussions. People feel nothing when it comes to spending lavish amounts of money on a new device, car, or other unnecessary items. These are items that we would not be sacrificing anything in not purchasing them, as we are simply buying a better version of what we already own. The society sees no moral difference between buying expensive items and giving to famine relief, since charity is not morally obligated. Helping others is seen as something that is morally optional and something that is not our duty. Acts of charity are seen as going above and beyond what duty requires us to do. According to this idea, people should not be morally obligated to end suffering as giving to charity it not our duty but is a step beyond …show more content…
He believes that changing the line between what is required and between what is good but not required that will lead to the best possible result. I find this claim plausible because it is morally indecent to sit around in lavishness and comfortableness while others in the world are dying from preventable sufferings. People in society are very influenced by those around them so that if charity became the norm and the duty, others would follow suit. This does bring up some more objections, such as revision of duty and charity is too radical. This is because people do not judge others for indulging in something expensive but rather judge based on breaking a norm, which does not affect the conclusion. In order to change the separation between charity and duty to make charity a moral obligation, our requirements for judging actions would have to change. Moral obligations are shaped by what is the norm in our society which is made by the needs of a particular society. Duty requires those acts which are necessary for a society to flourish together. For a particular society, it is not helpful to help those outside the society, thus not making charity duty. Another objection that it is not essential to help those outside of society. This is rebutted by the fact that instant communication and transportation has connected our entire world in ways that were never before

Related Documents