In “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” Peter Singer is trying to argue that “the way people in relatively affluent countries react to a situation… cannot be justified; indeed,… our moral conceptual scheme needs to be altered and with it, the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society”(Singer 230). Peter Singer provides striking examples to show the reader how realistic his arguments are. In this paper, I will briefly give a summary of Peter Singer’s argument and the assumptions that follow, adding personal opinions for or against Peter’s statements. I hope that within this paper, I am able to be clearly show you my thoughts in regards to Singer.
Peter Singer organizes his arguments into an outline form allowing a reader to take individual thoughts, adding them together giving a “big picture.” Within the first few pages, Singer shares two guiding assumptions in regards to his argument to which I stated above. The first assumption states “that suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad” (231). Singer steps away from the typical writing style; he states the assumption yet he does not give a personal comment in regards to the assumption. He chooses to do so because the assumption itself is surely uncontroversial; most people would agree, but to those who don’t agree, there are so many possibilities at which to arrive to this assumption that, after all, if they don’t yet comprehend its truth, it would be hard to convince them of its accuracy. Speaking for myself, if I encountered an individual that does not agree to the assumption that death by avoidable causes is bad; I would not hesitate to declare them of being heartless. There are many cases, whether across oceans on foreign land or areas to which we live, where people are dying because of inescapable, unfortunate reasons. Within such cases, even a possible little voice in the back of the head can lead one to wonder who has the responsibility of helping those who are enduring such unnecessary deaths. This sense of wonder leads us to Singer’s second assumption; “if it is in our power to prevent something from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it” (231). To better clarify what this assumption is looking for, Singer points out that “It requires u...
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...hly or would we be using only what is necessary? No sin is such a hopeless thought to wish of, therefore my next thought drifts to wishing people could become less selfish, giving to others and making of themselves as equal beings; sacrificing the extra benefits to allow more people to live in peace and harmony.
I hope that more people can become aware of being charitable: to give more of themselves and their blessed lifestyles to others less fortunate. I think that we can all still live just as happy with less stuff. Singer gives great logical arguments for and against his first argument, showing us that there is more that can be done and that we need to see those possibilities more clearly. We need to use the heart and gifts God gave us to benefit and bless others who are suffering. I hope that my views came as clearly as they seemed to be in my head. I feel like I connected well to what Singer was arguing, whether that be because it should have been a simple reading or because I have the possible mind of a philosopher, I am confident that I am now aware more of what I should be giving in order to help.
Singer, Peter. Famine, Affluence, and Mortality.
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