Obligations of Justice and Beneficence To Aid the Severely Poor

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This chapter takes a close look at Peter Singer's argument that we have individual obligations to help those suffering from chronic severe poverty. The chapter compares Singer's drowning child analogy with the case of chronic severe poverty and argues that, although there are important differences in the two cases, the analogy holds, and where it differs, the case for aiding those who suffer from chronic severe poverty is more compelling than the rescue of an individual in an emergency, such as a child drowning in a pond. It is argued that, insofar as the threat to human interests caused by extreme poverty arise from a systematic injustice—and not a random emergency—duties to give aid are greater in the former than the latter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGiving Well
Subtitle of host publicationThe Ethics of Philanthropy
EditorsPatricia Illingworth, Thomas Pogge, Leif Wenar
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-973907-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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