Moral Obligations about Charity views of Peter Singer and John Arthur

1804 Words Jun 22nd, 2014 5 Pages
Moral Obligations about Charity views of Peter Singer and John Arthur
By Amy Gallaher

The fact that we can afford to provide for ourselves even beyond our basic needs bring an important question. Is it then our duty to provide financial assistance to those who do not have enough to provide for their own basic needs? Peter Singer, in his piece, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” would argue that we ought to prevent bad things from happening without sacrificing something of equal importance. Here is the argument Peter Singer presents to us in standard form:
1) Millions of people are suffering from hunger every day.
2) Suffering and death from hunger is bad.
3) If it is within our power to prevent something bad from happening
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He says this because if you can survive without a certain body part (like a kidney) then according to Singer you should give it to someone to save their life because the kidney is less significant than a person dying (Arthur 473). Arthur does not agree with this idea he sees this as a person violating our negative rights to property, protesting, that it’s your body, and you have a right to it, outweighs any duty you have to help.

Both Arthur and Singer agree that there are millions of people suffering from hunger everyday and that this suffering causing death is a bad thing. However Singer believes that it is our moral duty to assist the poor not a choice to do so. While Arthur believes that although we should help those in need, it is not required of us to do so. Therefore the obligation that Singer imposes on people is not as extensive as that of Arthur.
As a moral person, one is morally obligated to act in a way which will bring about the greatest happiness. Whether that action is positive or negative doesn’t matter to the pain or pleasure that is produced. No distinction is necessary to the morality of the action. Pain and pleasure are still the measure of moral significance that are used to judge whether a given charity is good or bad. Then the given rules of charity are used to judge the morality of an individual’s acts of charity.
Arthur argues that duty to help a stranger in need would be some

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