Comparison Of Peter Singer 's And Onora O ' Neill 's Position On Famine Relief

Comparison Of Peter Singer 's And Onora O ' Neill 's Position On Famine Relief

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In this paper I will examine both Peter Singer’s and Onora O 'Neill 's positions on famine relief. I will argue that O’Neill’s position is more suitable than Singer’s extreme standpoint. First I will, present O’Neill’s argument. I will then present a possible counter-argument to one of my premises. Finally I will show how this counter-argument is fallacious and how O’Neill’s argument in fact goes through.
In order to understand why O’Neill’s position is superior to Singer’s position on famine relief, I will present information on both sides. O’Neill gives a Kantian, duty-based explanation, that focuses on people 's intentions. One of the central claims of Kantian ethics is that one must never treat a person, either oneself or another, as mere means, but "always at the same time as an end”(P.546 O’Neill). Meaning using someone as a mere means would involve using him or her in an action to which they didn’t in origin consent. The moral worth of one 's actions is determined by the maxim or intention that administers the decision to act, not by the act 's consequences. So a Kantian believes that their action does not need to aim for a total good. Therefore, outsiders in famine-stricken population requirements are less demanding. Outsiders are only obligated not to take advantage of those stricken. Kantians agree that our intentions just have to be good for there is no relation between an intention and its result. O’Neill also clarifies that Kantian ethics would not say anything about an ethical significance of unintentional actions only that one must have a duty to act in justice. In other words, someone can purchase a new luxury car while there is a famine problem as long as they don’t do wrong such like being deceitful towards those...


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...istaken because we have a moral obligation to famine relief if we are in comparable a better position than those we are donating to. There is nothing wrong with working a full-time job just to donate to famine relief.
O’Neill would counter this attack by stating that few people would be willing to donate such an extortionate percentage of their revenue to individuals they have never even met. It is not always in people’s own best convenience to donate such a large amount of money if those closest to us need it just the same or if an unlikely event would call for them to need it even more.
In this paper I have defended O’Neill’s position on famine relief. I have done this by reconstructing O’Neill’s argument, showing a possible counter-argument and defending O’Neill from this counter-argument. I have shown that O’Neill’s view is better than Singer’s on famine relief.

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