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

analytical Essay
1016 words
1016 words

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 …show more content…

Bentham, an act utilitarian, created a measurement called hedonic calculus that calculates if an action is wrong or right by determining factors like intensity and duration of pleasure. Singer strains on the importance of the act by the number of people affected from it. He believes that every human being is equal. Therefore, geographical and emotional closeness is irrelevant to moral responsibilities. He states that “death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad” and that if you disagree “read no further” because it would be hard to convince anyone otherwise (P. 231 Singer). He argues that if we can prevent bad things from occurring without “sacrificing anything of moral importance” it’s our moral obligation to act on it (P.231 Singer). What is not clear is as to how much we should give, as we should keep in mind that not everyone in the world gives aid to famine relief so we must take that into account. Singer then tries to make it easier on us by stating that instead of negotiating something of comparable ethical significance in his second premise, it can be of any moral significance. He also believes that if one is to ignore a duty to aid others then he or she is no different than an individual who acts wrong. This is because he believes that it is our moral responsibility to do good deeds and people dying is wrong …show more content…

What autonomy does is it helps stimulates an atmosphere of self-improvement in a community rather than people being dependent on others. Besides not using people as mere means O’Neill believes in helping develop others’ ends so that they can be independent. O’Neill’s second premise is mistaken 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

In this essay, the author

  • Argues that o'neill's position is more suitable than singer’s extreme standpoint on famine relief.
  • Explains o'neill's position on famine relief is superior to singer’s. o’neill gives a kantian, duty-based explanation.
  • Analyzes singer's utilitarian approach to determining whether an action is wrong or right. he believes that geographical and emotional closeness is irrelevant to moral responsibilities.
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