`` Famine, Affluence And Morality ' Essay

1315 Words Aug 15th, 2015 6 Pages
Preference Utilitarian Peter Singer maintains that it is a moral wrong for those in affluent countries to not do more to prevent starvation in other parts of the world. Singer formulates this argument in his paper ‘Famine, Affluence and Morality’. Singer argues from the side of consequentialism, in particular Utilitarianism; an ethical philosophy in which the happiness of the greatest number of people in the society is considered the greatest good. Several philosophers have countered Singer’s theory, claiming that our moral duties are lessened by the distance of those suffering in other parts of the world. Moreover, critics of consequentialism argue that it does not allow agents to act in accordance with their own needs. I will be arguing from the point of Singer’s Utilitarianism, and will explore why I believe the failure of those in affluent countries to do more to prevent starvation in other parts of the world is a serious moral wrong.

Utilitarianism emphasises the idea that an act is morally right if its consequences lead to happiness, and wrong if it leads to pain. Act Utilitarianism, a theory which Singer affiliates with, states that the right act is the one that produces as much or more happiness than the alternative act. Subsequently, we are morally required to donate our extra wealth to countries more in need than our own, as this will produce the greatest amount of happiness overall. To aid this assumption, Singer proposes an analogy. If one is walking past a…

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