Philosophy 341 Notes: 4-14-09 5/1/09 12:25 PM Outline ? Peter Singer ? ?The Rich and the Poor? Definition of absolute poverty Definition of absolute affluence Rejection of a firm distinction between killing and letting die Principle of easy rescue/prevention fountain analogy ?If it is in our power to prevent something very bad happening without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral worth, we ought to do it? Charity is morally required, not optional Notes Authors related to essay question 1: Macintosh, DeBois, Judge Brennan, Dworkin, Murray In regular speech one might say ?he or she deserves a chance? in pertaining to someone who hasn?t had a chance (don?t have past actions showing merit) This is based more on a principle of opportunity which is different than treating people based on what they deserve Singer is concerned with the globally poor ? the worst off or ?bottom billion? Not a question of not having enough, instead absolute poverty Being born into these situations is based on luck ? they didn?t necessarily deserve it Absolute poverty ? having an income that is not adequate to provide for nutritional needs Absolute affluence ? income far above what is needed to provide for basic needs for one?s self and one?s dependence Singer feels most Americans fall into this category What do the absolute affluent owe to those in absolute poverty? Singer argues they owe a lot One of the assumption Singer starts from is that starving is bad He establishes that global hunger is a moral problem because the situation of not having enough food is not a problem of production ? we have enough food to go around It is a problem of distribution Singer points out that 5.5% of GDP of Britain is spent on alcohol versus .38% spent on foreign aid Govier claimed that killing and letting die are the same thing from a moral perspective Singer argues: 1. We are responsible for the consequences of our actions (implies we are also responsible for our actions that we don?t intend) By spending extra money on a vacation you might not be intending to withhold that money from someone else who would spend it on food The consequence, according to Singer, is that those resources don?t go to someone else 2. The consequences of buying luxury items instead of giving aid is the death of human beings 3. Those who buy luxury items instead of giving aid are responsible for the deaths of human beings Singer is arguing against John Locke and follower Nozick who feel we only not interfere with others We don?t have to assist other people who are in danger of dying Singer?s famous fountain analogy hopes to show a principle we all agree with ? principle of easy rescue ? and how it relates to the globally poor Related to UW: Fountain on Library Mall Small child struggling in the water, but you have class It?s is easy for you to stop and help ? get a little wet, a little late for class This person has a moral duty to rescue this child and would be blamed if they did not ?If it is in our power to prevent something very bad happening without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral worth, we ought to do it? Wet clothes and being late are not of comparable moral worth This should appeal to consequentialist and non-consequentialists We could even take out the word comparable if we wanted Need to create a bridge between analogy and the implications to the globally poor 1. Absolute poverty (extreme suffering) is bad 2. It is within the power of affluent people to reduce the suffering of those in absolute poverty without sacrificing [anything or comparable] moral worth 3. The principle of prevention 4. We have an obligation to help those in poverty This argument is the same as saving the child in the fountain ? they are based on the same reasoning Singer has given an argument for why charity is required ? it is not optional (supererogatory) Problem of motivation Proximity matters We owe more to those in the United States then we do those abroad Singer says people might feel less obligation to people abroad, but that doesn?t mean we have less obligation He concludes there is no justification to helping those near to us and not those far away if we have the resources to help both He does admit there might be a slight preference to family members and community members The connections are morally important Nozick: People are entitled to the property they have gained How can we say they are morally required to give it away? Distinction between legal entitlement and moral entitlement You can be legally entitled without being morally entitled Property rights objection Singer raises Rawls? question Nozick doesn?t have an adequate moral theory in his entitlement theory ? leaves too much up to chance Asks us to compare Kuwait (rich Oil reserves) to Chad (famine and drought) If we are in the original person (either ending up in Kuwait or Chad), would people in Kuwait not have an obligation to help people in Chad? Singer and Rawls say no Triage objection (practice of ranking how important it is to helping different groups) ? population control Affluent countries shouldn?t help destitute countries because their populations will grow and grow Boat analogy: These people would eventually sink our boat (needy population would keep growing and we would keep giving) Singer says triage is an offense to human dignity and equality Only a bad person would not be disturbed by the thought of triage He also says if you are a good utilitarian you need to think about the probable consequences of your actions Reasonable probability the populations will be brought under control Evidence that birth rate falls once economies develop Giving aid in a responsible way will bring populations under control ? therefore we have to chose that route over triage Probably good outcome versus certainly horrible outcome
Want to see the other 4 page(s) in Lecture 4-14-09: Peter Singer on ?The Rich and the Poor??JOIN TODAY FOR FREE!