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Giving WellThe Ethics of Philanthropy$
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Patricia Illingworth, Thomas Pogge, and Leif Wenar

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199739073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199739073.001.0001

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Obligations of Justice and Beneficence to Aid the Severely Poor

Obligations of Justice and Beneficence to Aid the Severely Poor

(p.26) 2 Obligations of Justice and Beneficence to Aid the Severely Poor
Giving Well

Elizabeth Ashford

Oxford University Press

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

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