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PhilosophyPart of Humanities

Charity Obligations - Singer

You have agreed with Peter Singer, who thinks it is wrong to spend money on luxuries, like new clothes, when we could use it to help the many people currently in need.

Peter Singer
Peter Singer

Singer says that this is morally equivalent to walking past a child drowning in a pond because you don’t want to get your new clothes muddy.

But how much money must we give away? Suppose I have already given a lot of money away to famine relief - is there a point at which I can refuse to give any more because I have already given so much away? Does having given this amount of money away also make it okay for me to walk past the drowning child?


For more on this topic, you might read Peter Singer, “Famine, Affluence and Morality”, Peter Unger, Living High and Letting Die, or (Southampton’s own) Fiona Woollard, Doing and Allowing Harm, Chapters 7 & 8.
At Southampton, we run various modules that address these and similar issues: Ethics, Political Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, and Action, Reason, and Ethics. Many of our staff undertake research in this area, including Dr. Alex Gregory, Dr. Sasha Mudd, Dr. Jonathan Way and Dr. Fiona Woollard.
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