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PhilosophyPart of Humanities

Charity Obligations - Working out our obligations

You’ve said that we are never morally required to help others, but that you would not like to live in a world where no one helps anyone else. Is there a tension between these claims?

You might think that it doesn’t matter whether you would be happy to live in a world where no one helps others - perhaps you think that this does not show that we are required to help others, only that it can be nice to do so. But then how do we work out what moral requirements there are?

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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