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In some contexts, at least, they will also assert that people ought to prevent serious suffering when they can do so, even at significant cost to themselves.But these same people contribute little or nothing to relief efforts or development initiatives, and do not actively…
Bob's conduct, most of us will immediately respond, was gravely wrong. But then he reminds us that we, too, have opportunities to save the lives of children.
We can give to organizations like Unicef or Oxfam America.
Most affluent people are at least partially aware of the great magnitude of world poverty.
A great many of the affluent believe that the lives of all people everywhere are of equal fundamental worth when viewed impartially.
The Australian philosopher Peter Singer, who later this month begins teaching at Princeton University, is perhaps the world's most controversial ethicist.
Many readers of his book '' Animal Liberation'' were moved to embrace vegetarianism, while others recoiled at Singer's attempt to place humans and animals on an even moral plane.
For one thing, to be able to consign a child to death when he is standing right in front of you takes a chilling kind of heartlessness; it is much easier to ignore an appeal for money to help children you will never meet.
Yet for a utilitarian philosopher like myself -- that is, one who judges whether acts are right or wrong by their consequences -- if the upshot of the American's failure to donate the money is that one more kid dies on the streets of a Brazilian city, then it is, in some sense, just as bad as selling the kid to the organ peddlers.
At the end of the movie, in cinemas in the affluent nations of the world, people who would have been quick to condemn Dora if she had not rescued the boy go home to places far more comfortable than her apartment.
In fact, the average family in the United States spends almost one-third of its income on things that are no more necessary to them than Dora's new TV was to her.