Famine, Affluence, And Morality, By Peter Singer Essays

1478 Words Nov 17th, 2016 6 Pages
In “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” Peter Singer discusses the moral obligation of humans to prevent bad things from happening. In particular, Singer focuses on the prevention of the famine in East Bengal during November 1971 where many people were dying from poverty. Singer argues that since global poverty may be inhibited through charitable donations, then individual people ought to be morally obligated to donate what Singer defines as their surplus of money to charities that will aid impoverished nations. Singer writes his article in the format of a thought experiment, in which he presents a number of generally agreeable premises that lead up to his conclusion which is to donate as much money to charity as what Singer determines is reasonable. In this paper, I will explain Singer’s premises, apply his reasoning to environmental crises, as well discuss a potential flaw in Singer’s argument that might not obligate humans to give to charity in the way that Singer argues is morally required. Singer begins his article with assumptions that are critical to his argument and thought experiment. First of all, Singer assumes that “suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad” (Singer 231). In other words, the first premise of Singer’s argument is that any person who lives in poverty is in a bad situation. He then goes on to say that “if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable…

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