Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Book - 2015
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In 1972, the young philosopher Peter Singer published "Famine, Affluence and Morality," which rapidly became one of the most widely discussed essays in applied ethics. Through this article, Singer presents his view that we have the same moral obligations to those far away as we do to thoseclose to us. He argued that choosing not to send life-saving money to starving people on the other side of the earth is the moral equivalent of neglecting to save drowning children because we prefer not to muddy our shoes. If we can help, we must - and any excuse is hypocrisy. Singer's extreme standon our moral obligations to others became a powerful call to arms and continues to challenge people's attitudes towards extreme poverty. Today, it remains a central touchstone for those who argue we should all help others more than we do. As Bill and Melinda Gates observe in their foreword, in the age of today's global philanthropy, Singer's essay is as relevant now as it ever was. This attractively packaged, concise edition collects the original article, two of Singer's more recent popular writings on our obligations to othersaround the world, and a new introduction by Singer that discusses his current thinking.
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2015.
ISBN: 9780190219208
0190219203
Branch Call Number: 170 SIN
Characteristics: xxxii, 86 pages ; 19 cm

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Feb 23, 2016

Three essays: the original article, and two newspaper pieces. Largely a condensed version of The Life You Can Save, and like it is mired in preference-satisfaction utilitarianism, whose problems it doesn't address, and totally ignores special responsibilities owing to special relationships that certain people and institutions have (eg., fellow citizens towards their needy members, and governments towards their people) and the moral hazards (eg., kleptocrats made more comfortable) arising therefrom. The rhetoric of the argument really only works on those who have been raised in a christian social-moral background, for it continuously imputes (or tries to impute) guilt into the reader (I've found that Chinese, Muslims, and Buddhists never take the guilt bait).

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