TOPIC # 2: WORLD FAMINE AND OBLIGATION
“Should we as human beings aid those who are left in famine because of the place in which they live,
are we morally obliged to do so?”
1. Suffering, death, lack of medical care, food and shelter are all very bad things.
2. The moderate principle states that if it is in our power to prevent something very bad from
happening, without sacrificing anything morally significant, we ought to do it because of
3. Luxuries are not morally significant
4. We could have donated the money to aid agencies, which would allow for prevention of
suffering and dying due to lack of food, shelter, etc.
Conclusion: Therefore, morally Peter Singer believes that people should do this.
Society normally associates charity with doing something right, but not doing charity as a not
necessarily bad thing. Singer disagrees, and states that it is wrong to spend money on luxuries
when we could save other people’s lives.
Objection 1: Giving money to relief doesn’t aid the root problems in regards to poverty, thereby not
doing something actually morally significant.
Reply 1: When we give money to a charitable organization, we do it in the hope that they are seeking to
address the root problems of the issue at hand.
Singer brings in the STRONG PRINCIPLE so, he said “If it is within our power to prevent
something bad, WITHOUT THEREBY SACRIFICING ANYTHING OF COMPARABLE MORAL
IMPORTANCE, we ought, morally, to do it.”
By accepting this we put ourselves in a situation where we must give to the point of being
equivalent to those who we are giving to, but hovering just slightly above them.
[ASK ABOUT THE SHALLOW POND EXAMPLE]
It seems almost absurd to think that the Strong