Of Peter Singer's Famine, Affluence And Morality, And Lifeboat Ethics

1468 Words 6 Pages
(Intro) Peter Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” and Garrett Hardin’s “Lifeboat ethics” are contradictory philosophical works that examine whether scarce resources should be shared with the poor. Singer’s argument is that “suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad" (Singer, 1972); therefore all people become morally obligated to help the poor. While Hardin argues that ethics of a Lifeboat should be followed because there is a finite amount of resources available at our disposal (Hardin, 1974, pp.566). Both authors take extreme positions by providing opposing arguments on whether we should be involved in helping the famine or not. This essay will analyze the rational of both authors’ while trying …show more content…
Thus, proximity should not be the deciding factor on who to help. Hardin’s “Lifeboat Ethics: the Case against the Poor,” argues that help to the poor should not be given (Hardin, 1974, pp.566-567). Hardin provides an analogy that supports his argument; there are
50 people on a lifeboat with 10 more empty spots, however if a new plant disease breaks out or the weather decimates the population, there should be excess food provided on the lifeboat (Hardin,
1974, pp.566). If the lifeboat encounters 100 swimmers, there are 3 ways to deal with this issue: (1) by the Christian ideal if everyone is let in then the boat will drown, (2) let ten people in, but who?, the ten neediest or the best ten?, etc. or (3) don’t admit anyone to the boat which ensures survival to those who are already on in the Lifeboat (Hardin, 1974, pp.566). Due to scarce resources (as seen
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Throughout the essay, Hardin relates overpopulation and tragedy of the commons to the Lifeboat analogy-thus Lifeboat ethics should be used.
(Main Argument) Singer’s essay is trying to convince that everyone should reduce suffering by any means necessary. He puts a great emphasis on helping those who are distant from us. Singer links this case back to the analogy of the drowning child, he argues that if there are a lot of people surrounding the drawing child and no one is helping him out- it’s your moral responsibility to save the child even though there are a lot of people around (Singer, 1972). From this analogy he argues that if everyone would relieve sufferings one way or another, the entire suffering population will be benefited. But, some people look at others and decide not to help. Singer argues that it’s still that person’s moral responsibility to help; now it becomes that one individual must contribute a larger amount due to the greediness of

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