Obligations of Justice and Beneficence to Aid the Severely Poor

Elizabeth Ashford

in Giving Well

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199739073
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855872 | DOI:
Obligations of Justice and Beneficence to Aid the Severely Poor

Show Summary Details


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.

Keywords: beneficence; chronic severe poverty; duty to rescue; emergency; global poverty; Peter Singer; philanthropy

Chapter.  10179 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.