Friday, November 08, 2013


Are we morally obligated to donate some money to help people living in absolute poverty? Or it morally permissible to not help them?

Read, by philosopher Peter Singer, online "The Singer Solution to World Poverty" from the New York times. Also in the Right Thing to Do. Also read the chapter on ethical egoism in the Elements of Moral Philosophy. 

Optional: try to read Singer's "Famine, Affluence and Morality" essay published in 1972.


Look at these webpages mentioned in the videos that we watched; find an organization that you could provide some financial support for:


Read: "Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper," by James Pryor.

Writing assignment: Singer argues that you are morally obligated to pick at least one of these organizations above and donate at least some money to it on a regular basis. What reasons does he give in support of that conclusion? That is, what's his argument? What objections does he consider and respond to? Is his argument sound?

Please write a well organized essay that addresses these questions. To do this, you must pick an organization, explain what it does and use it as an example to discuss of what you COULD do. You need to explain what you could do and discuss Singer's argument that you should do what you could here.

Your essay should have this structure, which you should use in your paper: your paper should have these sections explicitly in your paper:

I. Introduction
- Here you explain what you will be doing in the paper
II. What I Could Do
- here you discuss an organization, what it does, how your donation might help, etc.
III. What Singer Argues I Should Do
- here you explain Singer's arguments for why you are morally obligated to donate some money
IV. Objections and Responses
- here you discuss at least three objections to Singer's arguments and his or your responses to the objections.
V. Conclusions
- here you summarize what you did in this paper and explain what you believe you should or should not do regarding these issues and why.

In class we will discuss a a powerpoint on the topics.

No comments: