Kindness and Its Limits

Richard W. Miller

in Globalizing Justice

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199581986
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723247 | DOI:
Kindness and Its Limits

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This chapter confronts Peter Singer's enormously influential argument for giving up all luxuries and frills to aid the global poor, an argument based on the appealing principle that one ought to be willing to prevent something very bad from happening whenever one can do so without sacrificing anything morally significant. In opposition to this principle of beneficence, the chapter defends a moderate principle that only requires underlying concern for neediness as such that is sufficiently great that more would impose a significant risk of worsening one's life, if one lived up to one's other responsibilities. After grounding this principle on a morality of equal respect, and criticizing moralities of impartial concern, this chapter offers an alternative assessment of the cases of obligatory nearby rescue to which Singer appeals. These rescues are mandates of policies for implementing the moderate principle that everyone committed to it has reason to adopt, policies attending to nearby perils, which do not support Singer's radical global demands.

Keywords: Peter Singer; global poverty; rescue; beneficence; impartial concern; respect

Chapter.  10090 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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