Arguments against famine affluence and morality

Collections of Essays 1. Overall View Utilitarianism is a philosophical view or theory about how we should evaluate a wide range of things that involve choices that people face. Among the things that can be evaluated are actions, laws, policies, character traits, and moral codes. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism because it rests on the idea that it is the consequences or results of actions, laws, policies, etc.

Arguments against famine affluence and morality

The Concepts of Beneficence and Benevolence The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity.

Arguments against famine affluence and morality

It is suggestive of altruism, love, humanity, and promoting the good of others. In ordinary language, the notion is broad, but it is understood even more broadly in ethical theory to include effectively all forms of action intended to benefit or promote the good of other persons.

The language of a principle or rule of beneficence refers to a normative statement of a moral obligation to act for the others' benefit, helping them to further their important and legitimate interests, often by preventing or removing possible harms.

Many dimensions of applied ethics appear to incorporate such appeals to obligatory beneficence, even if only implicitly. For example, when apparel manufacturers are criticized for not having good labor practices in factories, the ultimate goal of the criticisms is usually to obtain better working conditions, wages, and benefits for workers.

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Whereas beneficence refers to an action done to benefit others, benevolence refers to the morally valuable character trait—or virtue—of being disposed to act to benefit others. Many acts of beneficence have been understood in moral theory as obligatory, as determined by principles of beneficence that state moral obligation.

However, beneficent acts also may be performed from nonobligatory, optional moral ideals, which are standards that belong to a morality of meritorious aspiration in which individuals or institutions adopt goals and practices that are not obligatory for everyone. Exceptional beneficence is commonly categorized as supererogatory, a term meaning paying or performing beyond what is obligatory or doing more than is required.

This category of extraordinary conduct usually refers to high moral ideals of action, but it has links to virtues and to Aristotelian ideals of moral excellence. Such ideals of action and moral excellence of character need not rise to the level of the moral saint or moral hero.

Even moral excellence comes by degrees. Not all supererogatory acts of beneficence or benevolent dispositions are exceptionally arduous, costly, or risky. Examples of less demanding forms include anonymous gift-giving, uncompensated public service, forgiving another person's costly error, and complying with requests to provide a benefit that exceeds the obligatory requirements of ordinary morality or professional morality.

Saintly and heroic beneficence and benevolence are at the extreme end of a continuum of beneficent conduct and commitment.

The Gap Between Rich and Poor

This continuum is not merely a continuum mapping the territory beyond duty. It is a continuum of beneficence itself, starting with obligatory beneficence. The continuum runs from strict obligation grounded in the core norms of beneficence in ordinary morality through weaker obligations the outer periphery of ordinary expectations of persons, such as great conscientiousness in attending to a friend's welfare and on to the domain of the morally nonrequired and exceptionally virtuous.

An absence of this sort of beneficence constitutes a defect in the moral life, even if not a failure of obligation. The continuum ends with high-level acts of supererogation such as heroic acts of self-sacrifice to benefit others.

Beneficence is best understood as spread across this continuum. However, there is considerable controversy about where obligation ends and supererogation begins on the continuum. A celebrated example of beneficence that rests somewhere on this continuum, though it is hard to locate just where, is the New Testament parable of the Good Samaritan.

In this parable, robbers have beaten and left half-dead a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. A Samaritan tends to his wounds and cares for him at an inn.

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The Samaritan's actions are beneficent and the motives benevolent. However, they do not seem—on the information given—to rise to the level of heroic or saintly conduct. The morally exceptional, beneficent person may be laudable and emulable, yet neither a moral saint nor a moral hero.

The Historical Place of Beneficence in Ethical Theory The history of ethical theory shows that there are many ways to think about beneficence and benevolence. Several landmark ethical theories have embraced these moral notions as central categories, while proposing strikingly different conceptual and moral analyses.

Beneficence in these writers is close to the essence of morality. Other writers, including Kant, have given less dominance to beneficence, but still give it an important place in morality. He argues that natural benevolence accounts, in great part, for what he calls the origin of morality.

A major theme is his defense of benevolence as a principle in human nature, in opposition to theories of psychological egoism. Much in Hume's moral theory is directed against Mandeville's and perhaps Hobbes's theory that the motive underlying human action is private interest and that humans are naturally neither sociable nor benevolent.

Hume finds benevolence in many manifestations:World Hunger: A Moral Response ; Poor dairy farmers in El Salvador have found themselves competing against free milk from the U.S. As a result of aid, many countries, such as Haiti, Sudan, and Zaire, have become aid dependent. P. "Famine, affluence, and morality." Philosophy and Public Affairs, Spring , 1, (3), pp.

Worid. Famine, Affluence, and Morality Notes Peter Singer opens his argument by introducing the reader to a famine in Bengal setting up his first premise that starvation is bad (Singer ).

He then suggests for his second premise that if it is possible to stop something bad from happening, then we should do all we can to stop it as long as it. Act and Rule Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is one of the best known and most influential moral theories.

Arguments against famine affluence and morality

Like other forms of consequentialism, its core idea is that whether actions are morally right or wrong depends on their specifically, the only effects of actions that are relevant are the good and bad results that they produce.

A wake-up call to everyone who allowed allusions to the gap between rich and poor to pass without critical judgment. Because the gap is a sign of the OPPOSITE of what those who always point to it .

"Famine, Affluence, and Morality" is an essay written by Peter Singer in and published in Philosophy and Public Affairs in It argues that affluent persons are morally obligated to donate far more resources to humanitarian causes than is considered normal in Western essay was inspired by the starvation of Bangladesh Liberation War refugees, and uses their situation as an.

"Famine, Affluence, and Morality" is an essay written by Peter Singer in and published in Philosophy and Public Affairs in One of the core arguments of this essay is that, if one can use one's wealth to reduce suffering — for example.

Famine, Affluence, and Morality - Wikipedia