Moral Philosophy First Reading Why Term Paper
- Length: 9 pages
- Subject: Women's Issues - Abortion
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #90591167
Excerpt from Term Paper :
This would make the resource pool of charity large enough for the deprived sections of the society.
2): On the issue of morality Singer in his writing refers about the Brazilian film Central Station in which Dora, a poor retired school teacher gets an opportunity to earn $1,000 by handing over a 9-year-old homeless boy to an address where the boy will be fostered by wealthy foreigners. She hands over the boy, earns the money and buys a television to enjoy, only to be told by his neighbor that the boy will be killed and his organs used for human transplant. Dora gets upset and she decides to bring back the boy. In this situation Dora becomes a pawn of an immoral act without her knowledge following which she suffers from emotional turmoil. Had Dora acted otherwise without expressing any qualms of her actions, the author maintains, the audience would have branded her a demon.
But the irony of the fact remains that the same audience who would have raised their finger on Dora had she decided against taking back the boy; themselves dwell in far more plush apartment than Dora, enjoying life's more luxuries. In that vein the author states that affluent people spare no opportunity to condemn acts of immorality committed by others, but when the turn comes for them to show act of ethical behavior by saving a life or contributing for a charitable cause they never seem take the initiate to lead by example. The author raises question about the comparative ethics involved in the two acts and the degree of harshness committed by the two persons, i.e. Dora selling a homeless child for some money in exchange and an American upgrading to a better TV as the old one is no more fashionable conscious of the fact that the money could be given for charity which will better the lives of kids living on the edge.
To a utilitarian philosopher like Singer who believes in consequences, although it is sheer heartlessness to kill a child who the earlier moment was alive compared to ignoring an appeal for money to help children whom the donor will never get a chance to meet, are both the same judged from a consequential angle. In case of Dora, she commits an act which is immoral while an American refrains from doing a noble act, the consequence of both being equally immoral. Hence by shadowing the act of an American consumer behavior for not donating generously while pointing a finger at Dora raises a serious moral issue.
3): Several of Singer's views are practical to which every reasonable person will agree and come forward to make his contribution. It is true that we preach more than what we practice when it comes to donating for a noble cause like saving the life of children in need. Peter Unger also cites another example of his writing in Living High and Letting Die where he debates about the wrongfulness involved in leading opulent lives while the teeming million perish due to hunger, malnourishment and treatable diseases. In his imaginary example where Bob does not save a child by being run over by a speeding train at the cost of his prized possession - a vintage car Bugatti. All he could do was to pull a switch which could have diverted a speeding train from the path of the child and allow it to ram into his Bugatti which he didn't and continued to enjoy his car and financial security. It is agreeable with the author that collective wisdom demands that everybody should contribute to the cause of world hunger by donating in small amounts. This can be called as persuasive philanthropy where the affluent citizens are called upon to donate in small packages so that flow of donation is regular and the kitty becomes sizeable to be of substantial use to the needy.
However the point of disagreement with Singer is that it might not be possible to get what he terms as 'fair share' which might save lives which may otherwise be lost. Asking people to refrain from buying a new car renovate the house or other material improvement might be taken by different people in different perspectives. Some may oblige, others may see it as an intrusion of their personal decision. By putting down an exact sum towards charity which Singer states should be in the region of $20,000 may not be acceptable to a lot of contributors who may view this amount as huge and may be willing to part with this sum. Besides, asking them to forego their luxuries and contribute the amount would be counterproductive. Instead a better way would be to contribute any sum however small so that it brings amounts which can be substantial when contributions are received from a lot of people. This will be a satisfaction of the conscience of the people for donating for a noble and worthy cause.
Third Reading: Feeding the Hungry
1): The author Jan Narveson reserves a strong view regarding the politicization of starvation and how corrupt Governments use them to further their end. Starvation results due to bad functioning of governments, instead of nature's inability to cope with the ever-growing population. Starvation can be construed as a form of killing and definitely is included under the same parameters that any other process of killing is liable to. However when the problem is plague, crops fails due to famine, or just dearth of adequate knowledge, and then the blame is not put on anybody. At this point the haves must come forward to the rescue of the have-nots and if we don't we should be held guilty.
2): The author makes us aware about the finer points of distinction between duties of justice and duties of charity. Duty towards justice comes from compulsion whereas; charity comes from the heart of the giver with the desire to benefit others since they need it. When we take away the motive of a Samaritan from the act of charity, we can define charity as simply doing well for others. At this point according to the author charity takes the shape of compulsion which is definitely not true as far as the definition of charity goes. But instances of compulsion are found where the Government in order to undertake an equitable distribution puts taxes on the rich to use the money for the use of the poor for their socio-economic benefit, education and the like. At the point while we question, then, on which camp of the moral divide we should place feeding the hungry- unenforceable charity, to be left to personal consciences, or enforceable justice, maybe to be addressed by the Governments which is a real moral issue and also an important one.
It is not the question that feeding the hungry is not just something we should do, rather something we must do as an issue of justice. And the latter issue is the focal point of this argument. This brings us to the fundamental question regarding, are we duty bound to do justice to feed the starving? From this comes the second point, if there is not, then is there a basic need of charity that we will be disposed to perform in that manner, and if such how strong is that need. We can start with the question whether it is unjust to allow other to starve to death. According to Rachel, he sees no fundamental distinction between killing and letting die. Secondly, several people insist that feeding the hungry is the duty of the justice although we if we do not accept the equivalence of killing and letting to die. Thus they require separate arguments, in favor of a positive right to be fed.
The two divergent opinions need very different discussions. Starving and letting to starve are particular cases of killing and letting to die. In order to be certain we often attribute causality to human inaction. However, the definite instances of such attribution are those in which the agent in question possessed an antecedent responsibility to perform the thing in question. Moreover definitely we may agree that in case we have a duty to feed the poor and fail in our duty to feed them, then we are at fault. Besides, what is our stand that killing and letting die are morally on the same platform. Once again, there is a risk of begging the question which is if we have a duty to feed the hungry and we do not, then in that case refraining from doing might be morally equivalent to killing them. However once again, the outcome definitely does not follow in case we do not have that duty, which is in question. Among the people who consider that we do not have fundamental duties to mutually take care of one another as a mark of fraternity, but just duties to refrain from killing and…