How Does Singer Attempt to Justify Our Obligation to Help Distant Others in Need? Does He Succeed?

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By jhamilton
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How does Singer attempt to justify our obligation to help distant others in need? Does he succeed?
Peter Singer is one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century and this has to do with his ideas on poverty, animal rights, abortions and euthanasia. This question is about aid from wealthy countries to poorer ones and therefore is concentrating on his views on poverty and generally, global justice. I will start by outlining what Peter Singer says about helping others in need in far off countries and how he justifies the points he makes. I will then comment on whether I believe this to be a persuasive argument and will critique and support what he believes with my own opinions and justifications.
This question is about global justice, which is the allocation of advantages and disadvantages between governments/states or between individuals of different countries. Therefore, global justice is not something that individuals worry about and the governments do not. Nor is it something that governments strive for but the individual does not value. They should be both working towards the same goal and this is where global justice theorists like Singer have their say.
Singer in the article Famine, Affluence and Morality (1972) says that “Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad” (p. 231) which I think and he thinks that you can take as a granted assumption. No one wants people to suffer from lack of basic amenities like that when most people in Britain and high income countries can have these things without even having to blink an eye lid. Singer even says that “Those who disagree need read no further.” (p. 231 1972) just to drill the point home that he thinks that this is a pretty obvious statement and that those people who do not agree with that will most certainly not agree with the rest of the argument. His second point is…...

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