Peter Singer Essay, Research Paper
Peter Singer is well known for issues on animal rights and hunger. He proclaims three points in his argument for us to have a moral obligation to assist people that are in poverty. When somebody speaks of the hunger issue and absolute poverty, one must have a general idea what absolute poverty is. Absolute poverty is basically people, cultures, states, etc? that can’t make enough money or basically can’t feed the mouths of those in their “society” and can’t provide adequate medical care, and shelter.
Singer makes three arguments for a moral obligation to treat those that are in absolute poverty. The first point he makes is that suffering and death from being in absolute poverty is a human tragedy. This argument in it self explains it well. People should not suffer or die because they don’t have adequate food, medical care and shelter. He claims that it is morally unjust to have people in the world that suffer from this. His second point is as follows: if we can prevent a human tragedy without comparable sacrifices, we should do so. This point brings point one further by saying that we have a moral obligation to help people in absolute poverty without hindering us from our sacrifices. Point three basically says that we can prevent some additional suffering and death from absolute poverty without comparable sacrifice. This point brings the other points and adds that it is in our power to prevent the suffering of people in absolute power and that we do not have any comparable sacrifices above helping these people.
Singer concludes his three points about this issue with a conclusion. The conclusion is we ought to prevent some additional suffering and death from absolute poverty. Singer’s points are well thought out and well presented. There can be a lot of objections towards Singer’s argument.
One objection to his argument is that these people in absolute poverty will be given handouts and as they are given these handouts, they will depend more on the handouts. This point is basically saying that we can give these people food and shelter, but they won’t work on getting out of poverty. I know some can’t work out of poverty, but I know many can and they don’t because they are handed food and shelter. I agree on the fact that we have to help these people, but I feel that most would rely on the help and not help themselves. I feel that if we could send some farmers or whoever to show these people how to harvest food, they could benefit and maybe make enough money to support their families. I feel that the people in poverty should work harder to get out rather than take hand-outs of food. There are many ways one could make money in these cultures, but in some there aren’t many at all. But there is always that chance to make some kind of effort to get out of poverty. The Ladak’s, in India, are a culture that does not want help and they are trying to get themselves out of poverty by selling goods from their community. Singer could definitely rebut this point because there are communities that absolutely need the help and hand-outs. Also, about the point of bringing in farmers, well most dictators will allow this type of action but won’t allow for the change to be made. Most dictators don’t mind having these people in poverty.
Another point, which is a very obvious point, is that we work hard to make money to buy goods. This is a very selfish point, but one can argue that they paid a lot of money to go to college to get an education to make the almighty buck. If I make a six figure salary, I want to spend it on luxuries. Most people wouldn’t give up their money they earned to help people in poverty. People work very hard to earn their own money and to give it somebody else can be very hard. I feel that people like Bill Gates, that can drop a billion dollars and not even flinch, should give up some of his money to help the needy. Look at a middle class family that have to earn enough money to have food, shelter, medical care, and to probably send at least one child to college. How much money do they have to spare. Probably not much and they probably would use the extra money to buy a new car or something to that extent. Singer can make the point that it is not a comparable sacrifice to give some kind of help to these people. It is very selfish in that we can’t give people that can’t even eat our scraps. Also, Singer would have a hard time rebutting it because it is very true about people these days. Most won’t give up an extra dollar because they would claim it was a hard earned dollar.
The animal rights issue is an issue discussed largely by people like Reagan, Singer, Frey and the diseased Kant. Each have their own views of how animals rights are affected. There is basically four positions when talking about this issue. Animal Rightists, Animal Welfarist, Miserable Life View, and finally Indirect Duties View all have a particular points in their arguments.
Animal Rightists claim that we should not harm or kill an animal. An animal is equal to us and they should have the same rights as we do, especially the right to life. Animal Welfarists claim that animals should not be used or harmed except if doing so is truly necessary in order to achieve a genuinely important purpose. Miserable Life View states that you can use animals, but don’t make their lives miserable.
Out of these four positions, I would have to say that I fit into the animal welfarist view. I fit in this view because I strongly believe that in order to make strides in medicine, we must use animals because people won’t participate in these experiments. Although I feel this way, I don’t feel that an animal should just be used because an animal can’t say yes or no. If the animal is being used for a cure for HIV or a cancer of some sort, so let it be. I feel, after watching those videos, that cosmetics should not be used on animals because they take it too far. Running water on a rabbit’s eye is a little bit extreme. I don’t feel that a human would be stupid enough to do so. I feel that this type of experimentation is cruel and should not be done. If the animal is being used for a good cause then I feel that it is morally justified and probably justified to basically anybody that has a relative with cancer. Animal Rightists take too much of an extreme approach by saying you should be sentenced by setting mouse traps. Who like mice crawling around their houses? I know I wouldn’t and I am sure they wouldn’t either. I feel animals do have some rights, but as long as they are being used for research or a reasonable cause then there is no question of whether it is morally justified or not.
The issue of environment ethics is a very hard to make a strong position on either side of the case. The sides are basically that we use the environment positively or negatively. In my opinion, I am sort of on both sides. On the negative side, I would have to say that too many business’ get away with environment control laws. These laws state that you get a percentage of waste that can go in the atmosphere and they won’t be charged. But what these business’ are doing is they are buying up other people’s waste allotments because they won’t use their amount. I think that this type of b.s. should not go on because it is the smoke from these plants and the waste going into the waters that are polluting the water that we can’t even eat a fish we catch. I feel this wrong and should be looked at little more careful. I feel that this is not morally permissible because these large business’ can just pay off whoever and get away with it.
On the positive side, I do feel people are making an effort to help the environment. Most cities now have adopted mandatory recycling. I know it is hard to say mandatory, but in my town if you get caught not recycling, you receive a fine. This is good that the law would step in and give people a fine because I feel that people should recycle. It is not that hard to do but in our world, people are too lazy to expend that much more effort to recycle. I feel that this is a good sign for the environment and maybe someday it will be very clean. I feel that this is morally permissible because how can’t it be? We are all helping the environment by recycling. We are all in this world together and we should make it a better place to live!