Ethics and Hunger by dVpIHKH

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									     Ethics and Hunger

                     Sources:
World Hunger and Morality (1996 Aiken and LaFollette)
   World Food Problem (2004 Leathers and Foster)
  The Elements of Moral Philosophy (1993 Rachels)
                    Ethics
• How do we know what is right and wrong?
  – Use ethical theories to develop ethical
    arguments
• Ethical Arguments
  – Based on logical extension of ethical theories to
    address specific issues
  – a peaceful way to resolve conflicts in values
               Ethics is not
• Bible or Religion
  – People have different religions
  – Ethics can transcend differences
• Law
  – Some things are legal but not ethical
  – Some things are ethical but not legal
• Customs
  – People have different ways of doing things
  – Ethics can transcend differences
Ethical Theories
        • Natural Law
          – There are stronger and
            weaker among all things
          – It is natural and therefore
            right for the strong to win
            over the weak
          – Examples
              • Humans are at the top of the
                food chain and therefore eat
                animals and plants
              • Survival of the fittest
              • Social Darwinism
Ethical Theories
        • Divine Command
          – What is right is
            determined by God
             • Jewish
             • Christian
             • Moslem
             • Aztec
          – Examples
             • Love thy neighbor as
               thyself
             • Thou shall not kill
             • Golden Rule
             • Compassion
            Ethical Theories
                • Virtue Ethics
                  – Have good character and you
                    will behave ethically
                  – Example: Justice
                     • One who develops the personal
                       virtue of justice will treat other
                       people in an ethically just manner


Aristotle
         Ethical Theories
                • Categorical Imperative
                  – Should be able to
                    universalize what you do
                  – People should not be treated
                    as means to an end
                  – Examples:
                     • If some have access to the
                       means of survival, everyone
                       should have access to the
Emanuel Kant           means of survival
                     • Exploitation is wrong
Ethical Theories
        • Rights
          – There are protected
            privileges people deserve
             • Universal – should apply
                to everybody
              • Inherent for human beings
                (at least)
          – Examples
             • Right to life
             • Right to freedom
             • Right not to be tortured
             • Right to own property
Rights
  • Right to water, air, food?
  • Right to livelihood?
Ethical Theories
      • Utilitarianism
         – Seek the greatest good for the
           greatest number
            • Quantitate and optimize happiness
              in society while minimizing pain
         – Examples
            • Interstate highways through farms
              benefit the larger public
Ethical Theories
    • Utilitarianism
      – Seek the greatest good for the
        greatest number
      – Examples
         • Increase distribution of wealth
              – Charity
              – Graduated Taxes
              – Labor Unions
              – Socialism
              – Land Redistribution
          • Increase access to land, water, credit,
            health, and education
      Land Redistribution
                   • Jefferson thought the
                     misery of Europe was
                     caused by enormous
                     inequality in land holding.
                   • He proposed that land
                     should be redistributed
                     every generation.


Thomas Jefferson
Ethical Theories
        • Intuition
          – What is right is what
            resonates as the right
            thing for an individual
          – Based on
             • Feeling (irrational)
             • Thinking (rational)
             • Mysticism (spiritual)
             • Culture (societal values)
          – Example
             • Gut feeling (sense) that it
                is morally wrong for
                people to starve to death
Ethical Principles
        • Non- Maleficence
           – Do no harm: stop hurting others
        • Beneficence
           – Do good: help others
        • Justice
           – Fairness: equality of treatment
        • Autonomy
           – Self-determination
        • Paternalism
           – Deciding for others
Ethical Perspectives
          • Absolutism
            – What is right is
              universal, timeless, and
              absolute
          • Relativism
            – What is right may be
              different for different
              people or cultures
          • Nihilism
            – There is no right or
              wrong
Fallacies in Ethical Arguments
                     • Can’t cite the
                       Bible or other
                       religious
                       authority as
                       reason for
                       another to accept
                       your ethical
                       position
Fallacies in Ethical Arguments

                   • Can’t cite
                     majority or how
                     we’ve always
                     done things in
                     history as an
                     authority
                      – still might be
                        wrong
    Fallacies in Ethical Arguments
“I do not see why man cannot be just
as cruel as nature”
                                       • Can’t
            Who said it?                 condemn
                                         something
                                         because of
                                         who said it
                                       • Evaluate the
                                         merit of what
                                         is said


Hitler               Ghandi
Fallacies in Ethical Arguments
                 • Can’t equate a thing to
                   something else that is
                   easy to attack
                    – and then attack the easy
                      thing
                    – (Strawman)
Fallacies in Ethical Arguments
                  • Slippery Slope: Can’t
                    extrapolate into the
                    future (domino theory):
                     – if we allow this, then a
                       terrible thing will
                       happen later…
                  • Example: Anti-Suffragist
                    Argument
                     – If women became
                       involved in politics, they
                       would stop marrying,
                       having children, and the
                       human race would die
                       out
Fallacies in Ethical Arguments

                 • Must have sound
                   reasoning and use
                   factual information
                 • Example: Fear about
                   eating genetically
                   modified foods:
                   – Its eating DNA!
Is Hunger morally acceptable?


   Arguments that hunger is not
       morally acceptable
Is Hunger morally acceptable?
               • No, because:
                  – People should have a
                    right to survive
                      • Rights to
                         –   Food
                         –   Air
                         –   Water
                         –   Shelter
                         –   Autonomy
                         –   Self-sufficiency
               • Principle: Rights
          Henry Shue
       Subsistence Rights
• “No one can fully, if at all, enjoy any right that is
  supposedly protected by society if he or she lacks the
  essentials for a reasonably healthy and active life.
• Deficiencies in the means of subsistence can be just as
  fatal, incapacitating, or painful as violations of
  physical security.
• The resulting damage or death can at least as
  decisively prevent the enjoyment of any right as can
  the effects of security violations”
                   Is Hunger morally acceptable?

                                                            • No, because:
                                                               – Extreme disparities of
                                                                 wealth are unjust
                                                               – Conquest and economic
                                                                 domination unjustly favor
                                                                 the wealthy
                                                            • Principle: Justice
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Image:Jakarta_slumhome_2.jpg




Jakarta, Indonesia Slum
    Is Hunger morally acceptable?

                                 • No, because:
                                    – Jesus said
                                       • love thy neighbor
                                       • Do onto others as you would
                                         have them do unto you
                                    – Charity to the poor is a pillar
                                      of Islam
                                 • Principles:
                                    – Divine Command
Feeding orphans in Afghanistan      – Beneficence
Mother Teresa

       • “If you can't feed a
         hundred people, then
         feed just one.”
       • “Do not wait for
         leaders; do it alone,
         person to person.”
  Thomas Aquinas
13th Century Italian Philosopher


                 • Whatever a man has in
                   superabundance is
                   owed, of natural right,
                   to the poor for their
                   sustenance
                 • Principle: Natural Law
Is Hunger morally acceptable?

                • No, because:
                   – Pain suffered by the
                     hungry outweighs pleasure
                     enjoyed by the well off
                   – Greatest good for the
                     greatest number
                • Principle: Utilitarianism
            Peter Singer

• If it is in our power to prevent hunger we have a
  moral obligation to do it
   – If we do not have to sacrifice anything morally
     comparable
• Example:
   – If we walk by a shallow pond and see a child
     drowning, we ought to save the child rather
     than to save ourselves from getting wet and
     dirty.
                        Singer’s Runaway Trolley
                                                                           • Suppose you own a classic Bugatti
                                                                              – it is your pride and joy
                                                                              – It stalls on a trolley spur line
                                                                           • A runaway trolley will hit and kill
                                                                             a child stuck on the main track
                                                                              – Unless you divert the trolley to the
                                                                                spur line
                                                                              – And destroy your Bugatti
                                                                           • How much is the child worth?
                                                                              – How much of your money should you
                                                                                give to help save the lives of children
                                                                                in developing countries?
                                                                              – Without doing comparable harm to
http://www.motordesktop.com/wallpaper/supercars/Bugatti%20Veyron%202%20-
%201024x768.jpg                                                                 you?
                                                                           • We earn much more than we
                                                                             really need
 Is Hunger morally acceptable?
                             • No, because:
                                – Western Culture has contributed to
                                  and benefited from conditions that
                                  helped produce global hunger
                                   • Conquest
                                   • Colonialism
                                   • Imperialism
                                   • Global economic dominance
                                   • Aid to corrupt allies
                             • Principles:
                                – Non-maleficence
                                – Justice
Idi Amin received U.S. aid
                       Thomas Pogge
• The Global economic order causes poverty and
  entrenches the disadvantages of the poor
   – Example:
      • Dictators are allowed to sell the mineral and raw material wealth of
        their country
      • Profits are used to perpetuate repressive regimes.
      • The global economic order supports this.
      • The developed world benefits from low prices.
   – Example:
      • Dictators are allowed to borrow money to support repressive regimes
      • The global economic order supports this.
      • The first world benefits, developing countries suffer
              Thomas Pogge


• “We must stop thinking about world poverty
 in terms of helping the poor. The poor do
 need help, of course. But they need help
 only because of the terrible injustices they
 are being subjected to”
Is Hunger morally acceptable?

                   • No, because:
                      – When I see suffering
                        people I know
                        instinctively that it is
                        wrong
                   • Principle: Intuition
Is Hunger morally acceptable?


 Arguments that hunger is morally
           acceptable
Is Hunger morally acceptable?

               • Yes, because:
                  – Well off people have a
                    right to what they have
                    earned and own
               • Principle: Rights
     Is Hunger morally acceptable?

                             • Yes, because:
                               – Jesus said the poor will
                                 always be with us.
                             • Principle: Divine Command




Beggar with leprosy, India
Is Hunger morally acceptable?

              • Yes, because:
                – If we are not causing
                  hunger, we are not
                  responsible
              • Principle: Non-Maleficence
Is Hunger morally acceptable?

             • Yes, because:
               – People deserve the
                 circumstances they
                 experience:
                  • Caste system
                  • God’s will
                  • Original sin
                  • Providence
             • Principle: Divine Command
Is Hunger morally acceptable?

                  • Yes, because:
                  • There must be
                    poor in an
                    agricultural society
                    to support the
                    hierarchy
                  • Principle: Divine
                    Command
     Is Hunger morally acceptable?

                                        • Yes, because:
                                        • Survival of the fittest
                                          is a law of nature: we
                                          are not all equal:
                                           – individuals or
                                           – cultures
         Cecil Rhodes                      – Social Darwinism
“I contend that we are the first        • Principle: Natural Law
race in the world and the more of
the world we inhabit the better it is
for the human race…”
Is Hunger morally acceptable?

                   • Yes, because:
                      – The poor countries
                        will out-reproduce
                        the wealthy
                        countries, resulting
                        in greater hunger in
                        the future
                   • Principle:
                     Beneficence
           Garrett Hardin

• Rich nations are like lifeboats and must limit the
  number of people aboard
• If you think this is unfair you may give your seat
  to one of the poor
• If we give money or food to the poor they will
  multiply, destroying the earth for all
• This is a tragedy of the commons: abuses by some
  can destroy common resources for all
           Garrett Hardin
• “We are all descendants of thieves, and the
  world’s resources are inequitably distributed.
• But we must begin the journey to tomorrow from
  the point where we are today.
• We cannot remake the past.
• We cannot safely divide the wealth equitably
  among all peoples so long as people reproduce at
  different rates.”
Questions
Questions
     • How much of our
       culture’s ethical values
       about hunger are
       influenced by:
       – History of European
         Conquest and
         colonialism?
Questions
     • How much of our
       culture’s ethical values
       about hunger are
       influenced by:
       – Cultural arrogance
         and racism?
Questions
            • How much of our
              culture’s ethical
              values about
              hunger are
              influenced by:
              – American
                individualism?
                   Questions
                          • How much of our
                               culture’s ethical
                               values about
                               hunger are
                               influenced by:
                               – Ideas of
                                 manifest
                                 destiny?


George A. Custer
Questions
     • How much of our
       culture’s ethical values
       about hunger are
       influenced by:
       – Western property rights
         and property law?
Questions
        • How much of our
            culture’s ethical
            values about
            hunger are
            influenced by:
            – Laisse-faire
              capitalism?
Questions
       • How much of our
            culture’s ethical
            values about
            hunger are
            influenced by:
            – Xenophobia?
Questions

     • How much of our
       culture’s ethical values
       about hunger are
       influenced by:
       – Christian doctrine of
         love, forgiveness,
         compassion?

								
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