Analysis Of Jan Narveson's Argumentative Summary

Improved Essays
In this paper, I present Jan Narvesonʻs argument that no one should be morally required to assist those who are impoverished or starving. I will then object to this statement by arguing that those who are financially secure who are able to maintain comfortable lifestyles are morally obligated to distribute a portion of their wealth or excess food and supplies to those in need. My objection consists of two main arguments, the first being that those who are financially secure may be responsible for the impoverishment of others as a result of their consumption habits. The second component of my objection is that people should be morally obligated to distribute any excess money, food, or supplies they feel that they are able to because it would …show more content…
According to Narveson, the ethics of the hair shirt entails considering the interests of others with equivalent worth to our own (Narveson, 237). This form of ethics, Narveson states, would require people to contribute to the gratification of those who are less fortunate than them as much as they spend on their own gratification (Narveson, 238). He then claims that doing so would eventually create a deficit for those helping others in need because they are burdened with financing those peoplesʻ needs and desires (Narveson, 238). Narveson also delineates that people who are financially privileged are not directly responsible for the impoverishment of others because it is usually a result from an ineffective government (Narveson, 241). Since those who are financially secure and comfortable are not the reason for the impoverishment of others, morally requiring them to aid the impoverished would only become an unnecessary burden (Narveson, 243). To conclude his argument, Narveson states that people who are able to sustain themselves should not be obligated to aid the less fortunate unless they are responsible for their impoverishment, or if the need for aid becomes severe (Narveson,

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    In the article, Feeding the Hungry, Narveson answers the general questions about the dif-ferent types of moral questions that we have about starving. Consequently, the basic question of this article that Narveson argues, is whether the hungry have a positive right to be fed (243). He elaborates that we do have a right to feed them, but they also have a negative right to be fed (243). Nevertheless, he explains whether feeding the hungry is an act of justice or charity. Throughout this article, he establishes a distinction between justice and charity. He defines the demands of justice as something that could be enforced. In his perspective, charity is defined as something that, “comes ‘from the heart’: charity means, roughly, caring…

    • 751 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Just Desserts Analysis

    • 1286 Words
    • 6 Pages

    In Arthur's paper “Famine Relief and the Ideal Moral Code” he examines Singer’s paper on moral principles, in which Singer states that all humans are on the same level of need. Thus supporting one without the resources to obtain food is always more important than buying yourself luxuries. Arthur’s rebuttal to Singer’s statement comes in the form of what Arthur calls “Just Desserts”. Arthur defines “Just Desserts” as “the idea that sometimes people deserve to keep what they have acquired” (Arthur 500). This paper will analyze Arthur's argument for just deserts, and ultimately argue that it is a viable and important variable in creating a moral code. Arthur breaks his theory of “just desserts” into two parts: Positive and negative. I will first analyze the positive variation of “Just Desserts”.…

    • 1286 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However, he fails to classify it as the duty of justice as Narveson did. The moral perspective is lacking in Singer’s assertions. This could be a trick used to convince the audience to give voluntarily to others. Therefore, it does not promote his purport for enforcement of feeding as Narveson's uses. Narveson thinks differently from Singer by considering people’s voluntary choices of giving as morally permissible and dependence on their goodwill. When an individual chooses to sacrifice his or her luxuries to give as charity, it is morally fine. The person giving should not have any neglected obligations such as family. On the lowest level, the family should be comfortable in terms of getting basic needs. Besides, an individual is allowed to choose not to give, which also considered fine. Narveson’s argument is that people should sacrifice for charities just as they can make personal decisions to give or not to do os. Hence, an individual decision is ideal. Narveson argues that people who fail to give willfully should not be seen as having done any wrong. They must not be forced to give their money to charity and taxation. However, there is a contradiction to Singers argument in “The Singer Solution to World Poverty”. He as a utilitarian has no reason in principle to argue that it is not right to force people to sacrifice for charities. The rule of forcing individuals to…

    • 562 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    In a society where “giving food to starving kids in Africa” has become almost a cliché, utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer makes the readers of The New York Times step back and reevaluate their spending choices in his 1999 essay “The Singer Solution to World Poverty”. Through a mixture of examples and facts Singer calls upon those with excess money, typically used on luxuries, to instead donate that money for overseas aid agencies. In order to persuade the reader to follow through with his solution, he utilizes anecdotes and facts, emotional statements, and an impression to communicate the importance of donating to these agencies.…

    • 1672 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Swenson takes a decidedly theistic stance on the meaning life in which the beginning of his argument is based on the idea of happiness. Swenson argues that life’s true purpose is based on achieving happiness through serving the moral consciousness. It is the moral consciousness through an action and devotion in which reveals the existence of God thus giving meaning and dignity to life. Furthermore, Swenson begin an idea that humans are provided by nature with the desire for happiness (Swenson 2008, p. 18). To further the idea that happiness must be sought, he states the thought that life is not life unless it is considered happy with the comparison, happiness is not happiness unless it can be justified (Swenson 2008, p. 19). This shows that…

    • 1162 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    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.…

    • 1315 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Peter Singer Famine

    • 1735 Words
    • 7 Pages

    The United States has risen to become one of the most powerful states in the international system, with some of the wealthiest citizens and cities on earth. Many would argue this unprecedented wealth, along with satisfying an individual's personal needs and wants, creates an obligation to help those in worse conditions. There is an obligation is to help the poorest individuals on the earth who lack the resources to treat preventable illnesses and feed their children, while many in the United States enjoy excessive wealth. Many of these poorer citizens are far away on other continents, yet this moral obligation remains, though it is not left unchallenged purely by distance and statehood responsibility. The debate around helping the poor is much…

    • 1735 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Why Is Peter Singer Wrong

    • 1428 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The Australian philosopher Peter Singer, believes that when we refuse to help end world hunger, we become murders. He believes that it is are moral obligation as Americans who live comfortable lives, to help “the worlds poor” (Singer 1). It is wrong to continue to live a luxurious life, when we know that others are fighting for the mere chance to survive. In Peter Singer’s “The Singer Solution to World Poverty,” he compares us Americans to two fictitious characters Dora and Bob, due to the fact that we, as Dora and Bob, chose luxuries over the chance to help people suffering from life-threatening poverty.…

    • 1428 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer, he argues that we are morally obligated to donate as much money to charity as we can to help limit poverty in the world. Singer explains that there are many people in the world suffering from poverty, and living very poor-quality lives as a result of poverty. He argues that poverty is morally wrong because of the suffering it promotes. Singer believes it is the moral obligation of humans to donate as much as they can to help limit the suffering of the poor in the world, without sacrificing anything moral comparability. In this paper, I will argue that Singer uses vague language to describe what the line is for moral comparability. Singer does not provide criteria to decide on what is morally comparable. Also, I will deny Singer’s conclusion that we are obligated to donate as much as we can to help end poverty. I will argue that donating to charity is supererogatory, which means that donating to charity is not obligated, but instead a positive thing to do. I will also deny his second premise which states that it is our moral responsibility to prevent bad things from happening to other people.…

    • 1246 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He writes, “If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it” (Singer 6). He stresses that affluent societies have no excuse to not treat ailments we have the cure for, like starvation. Alleviating these poor conditions and human suffering is the easiest way to minimize the sum total of pain, or to follow the Greatest Happiness Principle. Singer expands on how much people are expected to give and mentions the “point of marginal utility” (10). The point of marginal utility as it relates to money essentially means that after a certain point where an individual can live comfortably, any extra income will not make the individual significantly happier. In other words, the point of marginal utility is where happiness begins to plateau in regards to extraneous wealth. To Singer, this money would be much more appreciated by someone whose suffering could be ended, rather than someone whose happiness is unaffected by it. Furthermore, Singer argues that affluent societies should not send aid merely because they have the desire to do, but because they have a moral obligation to do…

    • 1033 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Everyday millions of people around the world suffer in circumstances, in which they could die from lack of proper care and resources. In Famine, Affluence, and Morality, Peter Singer acknowledges this issue facing humanity and argues for the moral obligation to give large amounts of money to those in need. Singer believes that all who are able should be giving up many, if not all of their luxuries to help give the less fortunate their necessities. I will begin by summarizing the argument that Singer dictates in his article and then explain my reasoning for believing his notions to be sound and valid.…

    • 2212 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    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.…

    • 1478 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Poverty, poor, and overpopulation are becoming major issues in today 's society. As time goes by, it becomes awfully clear that these issues are problems we must deal with. While many want to address and solve these issues, there tends to be a divide on how to do so. There are many papers available concerning this problem. The two I find to have the strongest arguments are actually quite contradicting. First was Garret Hardin’s essay “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor” where he argues that we should not aid the poor. On the other side, Peter Stinger makes a convincing case in his essay “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” arguing that it is our moral obligation to help the poor.…

    • 1859 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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.…

    • 866 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Life You Can Save Argument

    • 1197 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Peter Singer’s main philosophy is that no child or adult living in poor countries should die due to a lack of fresh water, food or basic health and medical needs. He gives examples like the drowning child to make people aware that, if it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening without sacrificing anything as valuable or important, then it is wrong not to do so. Mr. Singer feels that people that live and receive beyond their basic needs should contribute to aid agencies. Singer believes that spending extra money on luxuries while 10 million children are dying due to poverty is just utterly and morally erroneous. Thus, John Arthur is also a utilitarian and believes that people should contribute to aid agencies that will stop unfortunate people from dying each year due to poverty. However, Mr. John Arthur has a very different approach; believing that every person has a right to their entitlement and earnings. Mr. John believes that moral codes are created and that it is not in human nature to give aid to others. Mr. John believes that Mr. Singer’s idea would backfire due to the following reasons: disincentive work, social conflict, guilt which would result in declination of contribution. I agree with John Arthur about the idea that people would give less to charity if they went by Peter Singer’s moral ethic code, of ought to help other if you are meeting your basic needs. Most people, especially in today’s society, feel they are entitled to their…

    • 1197 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays