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Applied Discussion 2 Applying Utilitarianism

In this Module, you have learned about utilitarianism and spent time thinking about an article written on your applied ethics topic from a utilitarian perspective. In your initial post, you must do the following:

  1. Clearly explain the author's position on your topic (animal rights, euthanasia, or global poverty). This should be formatted like a thesis statement (e.g., Singer believes that it is wrong to ....).

  2. Clearly explain the author's reasons in support of this position. Make sure to do so well enough that your classmates who are working on another topic understand the author's argument as well as how it counts as a utilitarian argument.

  3. Then, state whether you agree with the author's conclusion and explain why or why not.

Analyzing famine, "the difference between the affluent nations and the poor nations" (Singer), and the moral implications involving both individuals and governing bodies alike. Most of us when considering solutions to ending "world hunger" is by providing humanitarian relief or creating programs for sustainable farming and so on. What if I told you that those solutions only prolong the inevitable conclusion, that the stark reality is famine is here to stay and the only way to address it is through a well rounded yet unpopular approach. An approach that involves solutions we already know to be tried and true but unfortunately temporary, along with "prevention". When we think of prevention we probably think of it as a medical practice like "preventive medicine" which in fact is a common necessity that is provided by world health organizations in impoverished countries that also unfortunately deal with famine, malnutrition and hunger. The type of prevention that is being argued here though, is of population control in order to minimize suffering in the long run.

To be honest, P. Singer's essay on "Poverty: Famine, Affluence, and Morality (2014)" was a bit chaotic. In his attempt to simplify his arguments, he kind of lost me in trying to outline his scenarios going back and forth between his points and his accounts of the Bangladesh crisis. However, Singer's ultimate argument is that there is a sweet spot when it comes to the code of morality that society should have when addressing issues such as famine by driving the question; "Where should we draw the line between conduct that is required and conduct that is good although not required, so as to get the best possible result?" This question drives home the reality of the arguments in his essay driven by the his analysis of the Bangladesh Crisis. Singer argues If we are actually doing the right thing, if we are trying to truly resolve this global issue than we need to be asking the hard questions and make really hard ideological shifts in the way we look at the issue.

I understand where singer is coming from, but it does not address the fact that we have other issues that could potentially resolve the issue of famine. As it stands right now, famine and world hunger could be stamped out without even talking about minimizing or control population growth. In my opinion that is an elitist way of think to begin with, but I wont elaborate on the comment in this post. What I will say is that we have more consumer and material waste than what we as consumers can handle. Which begs the question, are we truly have a famine crisis on our hands or do we have a crisis of morality? More food goes in the trash, more undriven cars lay in deserts and airfields, more designer clothes lay in valleys and landfills, and here is the kicker, it never passed through the hands of the consumer. All these materials that we rape the earth for only to discard without it landing into the hands of the consumers because it is out of style, because it wasn't sold by the "sell by date" because the "newer model came out" or because the producer deemed the product wasn't esthetically pleasing. What as consumers are allowing is fraud waste and abuse that spans the entire globe, the fact of the matter is that we no longer live in centralized market place, we are all interconnected be global trade routes and we are interdependent of one another in ways that you as the reader may not even fathom, so if we allow our corporations and private sectors negligent, wasteful and we allow ourselves to continue to see ourselves as isolated communities that have no affect on others, others will continue to suffer. I invite you all to YouTube "Where Ships GO to Die, Workers Risk Everything" coincidentally it is a National Geographic documentary on Bangladesh's shipwrecked coastlines where the locals make unlivable wages scrapping metal from ships that are discarded by first world countries causing not only an economical crisis but also a health crisis, due to malnutrition but also due to unregulated dumping, and unregulated health and safety standards for those who seek to earn a living doing this work which spans all ages, just one example of more affluent nations taking advantage of lower income nations.

I don't' completely disagree with Singer's stance, but I think there are bigger issues that are interconnected to the issues of famine, and it has to due more with the morality of more affluent nations.


LaFollette, H. (2014). Ethics in practice: An anthology (Fourth ). Wiley/Blackwell.

57. "Famine, Affluence, and Morality" Peter Singer "Where Ships GO to Die, Workers Risk Everything"

Option 2


Clearly explain the author's position on your topic :

Singer thinks that instead of spending money on pleasures, individuals should contribute it to international assistance groups. He argues that we should try to avoid as much suffering as possible without abandoning anything of similar moral worth.

state whether you agree with the author's conclusion and explain why or why not.

I agree with Singer's conclusion because he says that most wealthy people have the power to end poverty, but most of them don't. People with enough money to spend on luxuries can use Peter's idea. Singer has some great ideas about how to get rid of poverty. He even figures out how much money he thinks an ideal family should give.

Clearly explain the author's reasons in support of this position.

Peter Singer thinks that we should try to save the lives of people we don't know if we can do it with little cost to ourselves. Singer says that when it comes to world poverty, giving to charity is neither kind nor generous. It is our duty, and it would be wrong not to give.

Option 3

In the passage, All Animals Are Equal Peter Singer gives numerous accounts of the ways humans defend the hierarchy in an inegalitarian society. Different views are also included in the text by Mary Wollstonecraft, Jeremy Bentham, Henry Sidgwick, and others. Peter Signer's position on animal rights is clear; he believes they should be equal, with which I agree. However, the degree to which animals should have equal rights as humans can and should vary. This degree of equality matters because humans can have hindsight and change the capacity to change the world around them. Since humans have these advantages, Signer believes animals should not be looked down upon because they too look to avoid pain and feel happy.

Within the context of equality for animals' other philosophers expressed how the same equality interchanges with humans correlate with animals' rights. For example, women's rights are discussed, which is a central issue based on discrimination against women based on their sex. Racism is another discrimination based on an individual's race addressed in comparison to animal rights. They are both forms of inequality that humans practice against each other. So I believe that Singer looked to explain that if we can take away the preference of how we choose to see the world, we can have equality, whether based on the view of human, non-human, woman, man, or race. All beings and animals have fundamental rights. My opinion differs because we have existed for a shorter period than animals and are far more developed. That is why I view to have a differing opinion but in all. All living beings, animals or humans, deserve the right to be treated with respect and have to ability to feel happiness.

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