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Globalizing JusticeThe Ethics of Poverty and Power$
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Richard W. Miller

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199581986

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581986.001.0001

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Kindness and Its Limits

Kindness and Its Limits

(p.9) 1 Kindness and Its Limits
Globalizing Justice

Richard W. Miller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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