Peter Singer's Our Obligation To The Poor

Words: 1240
Pages: 5

Anicia Juarez
Intro to Ethics
Our Obligation to the Poor Peter Singer believes that we with stable incomes and lifestyles are obligated to the poor. Famine is a horrible thing, and those living comfortable are the ones who can prevent an atrocity such as starvation. Singer believes if you have the ability to prevent something bad from happening without causing a comparable harm to yourself then you should. Singer suggest we donate almost all of our money because of his idea that the more money you have the lesser it goes down in value. Imagine you have a whole ice cream birthday cake to yourself, its your favorite so you want to finish it all. The first piece is just as good as the second one but generates less happiness for
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They focus on how we should be rather than what we should do. A consquentialist may say that lying is wrong and that we should never lie, but on the other hand a virtue ethicists may allow lying under some certain circumstances, such as a white lie, given it is for a good reason. A virtue is defined as a good character trait. According to virtue ethicists character traits come on a spectrum. On the left side of the spectrum are vices of deficiency. These vices include liars, impatience, and disloyalty. The right side of the spectrum are vices of excess, such as, foolishness, indiscretion, and blind loyalty. Virtue are found in the middle of the spectrum; courage, patience, loyalty, and honesty. These mid point of the spectrum is what Aristotle calls the Golden Mean. When asking ourself if a virtue ethicists would feel obligated to donate to the poor we must ask; does the fact that an action displays a virtue (generosity) automatically make it the right thing to do? The answer is No. In class we used the example of 9/11 hijackers. They were being courageous in the actions they were doing but it was not the right thing to do. According to virtue ethics they were not doing the right thing because it displayed another vice. A virtue ethicists may say that donating almost all of your money to the poor is the right thing to do given it displays admirable virtues. They would agree that you should donate as long as it doesn't cause you …show more content…
If you have the ability to prevent something bad from happening but aren't doing anything about it, there is something wrong with your behavior. Both Kant and Virtue ethicists agree that we have an obligation to the poor. What they disagree on is the extent to which we donate and the reason we