Posted at 10.17.2018
Do humans have a moral duty to help the poor. This issue has been talked about for quite some time by philosophers and has led to countless perspectives where one could take. One such philosopher is Peter Vocalist, a utilitarian philosopher, who contains that it is immoral never to help the poor and destitute if one is living affluently and has the means to help. Another philosopher who has a well-developed take on this subject is David Schmidtz. Schmidtz argues that there are limits where one must placed before supporting those in need. In this article, I will identify and assess Peter Singer's debate on said topic and will dispute against it using instances from Schmidtz.
Peter Performer is a utilitarian philosopher who states that if one can help the indegent without reducing anything of importance, they have a moral responsibility to take action. In "Famine, Affluence, and Morality", Vocalist brings forth his most effective arguments because of this clause. Vocalist uses Bangladesh refugees who suffer from hunger and other famines as his central example and claims, "I shall argue that the way people in relatively affluent countries react to situation like this in Bengal cannot be justified" (Vocalist, 230). Singer will not feel as if people, especially those in European society, are supporting in a way that could be considered acceptable. He argues that richer people must do a lot more than what they are currently doing for the needy. Performer goes on to assert the following:
If it is in our power to prevent something bad from taking place, without thereby reducing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it. By "without sacrificing anything of similar moral importance" After all without causing anything else comparably bad to occur, or doing something that is incorrect in itself, or failing to promote some moral good, similar in significance to the bad thing that we can prevent.
In this quotation, Singer is merely stating that one should help whenever they can, that is, if they have the methods to do so and can not need to sacrifice whatever is of equivalent importance. He believes that one should always help if the results does not lead to whatever could be juxtaposed for some morally bad going on. One should not be astonished of this view from Vocalist, for he's a utilitarian and utilitarianism practices that one should always do whatever will cause the most happiness and least amount of fighting. Though extended, this quote will also be much necessary when wanting to understand Schmidtz's argument against it. Vocalist further shows that one will need to have a clear understanding of what is deemed responsibility and charity. Performer suggests, "People do not feel in any way ashamed or guilt about spending money on new clothes or a new car rather than presenting it to famine alleviation" (Vocalist, 235). Performer is ultimately expressing that since giving money is considered a charity, it isn't condemned to not give money and that perspective on the matter is terribly wrong. We must move away from this view if one wants to do the morally right thing and help the poor and starving. Finally, Vocalist goes on to state that people are likely to believe that they don't have the moral obligation to help someone if there are others who can contribute just as much as they can, but choose never to. People fall into the belief that minimizing the famished is the government's obligation and that they have no duty to do so. People must move from all of these perspectives upon this matter if they want to activate in the morally right thing to do: help the poor, which in this example, happens to be the Bangladesh refugees.
David Schmidtz argues against Singer's view of world poverty in "Islands In a very Sea of Responsibility. " In this specific article, Schmidtz analyzes the same question Singer proposes. More specifically, Schmidtz says, "If we have a obligation to save in an area emergency, then we should also have a obligation to rescue folks from long-term famine in foreign countries" (Schmidtz, 1). Before asserting his point of view on this question, he further analyzes Singer's perspective. Schmidtz takes take note of of how Singer's point of view can create argument when taken practically. In his article, Schmidtz says Singer Process as adopted: If it is in our power to prevent something bad from going on, without thereby compromising anything of similar moral importance, we out, morally, to do it (Schmidtz, 2). He continues on to further declare that Singer Basic principle, or SP has weaker forms and stronger forms. The weaker form allows one say "anything of comparable importance as 'anything significant'" and this its "stronger form requires us to interpret the original phrase practically" (Schmidtz, 2). When one allows the stronger form of Singer's Process, then they are recommending that one should give so many resources and cash to the indegent to the idea in which they are really almost reduced to a Bengali refugee. Vocalist states that is what you need to desire; that is you need to want to help Bangladesh to the utmost amount possible. IN his own words, "Although we accepted the theory only in its average form, it ought to be clear that we would have to give enough to ensure that the buyer society, centered as it is on people shelling out for trivia rather than supplying to famine relief, would decelerate and perhaps disappear entirely. There are several reasons why this might be desirable alone" (Singer). He suggests that one should effortlessly move away from spending on unnecessary things when taking the poor and famished under consideration. Schmidtz argues from this by little or nothing that Singer fails to actually provide information for this view.
In conclusion, Vocalist states that it is our duty to help the poor to the utmost magnitude possible, even if that involves almost reducing yourself to the status of the indegent that you are wanting to help, for it is practical that one should have the ability to sacrifice much without feeling the negative effects and that once that once that threshold tag is reach - from sense no unwanted effects to feeling negative effects - an example may be not obligated to help anymore plus they have fulfilled there moral responsibility. Schmidtz argues from this by stating that it is not desirable for one to reduce their home to that level and that Singer's better clause is too literal for you to take critically. Indeed, Schmidtz does indeed wish to help the indegent somewhat, but he also seems that it's not his moral work to stop all of his resources to the idea where he himself is nearly of the position of any refugee. He understands that there has to be some people that do not feel obligated to give there all, for if everyone offered approximately they could without being the negative effects, then the famine-ridden, needy group of folks will usually need help (which finally will not solve anything) and this you will see unneeded wastage of extra resources. Finally, Schmidtz claim that theories aren't meant to be followed in an exceedingly demanding sense, but more so are maps for people to try and lay a reasonable foundation on how to reside a morally right life. For Schmidtz, perhaps attempting to follow Singer's process on the literal level is impossible and in stead should be considered a platform for how to live morally right.