What are the moral consequences of consequentialism?
Consequentialism is defined as of all the things a person might do at any given moment; the morally right action is the one with the best overall consequences. Peter Singer who is a philosopher expresses his views on animal rights, abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, and bestiality. According to William Crawley’s interview with Singer, Singer’s opinions on these topics provoke a great deal of controversy because there are really no concrete answers and the proposed solutions to these views are debatable.
One of the most controversial issues is abortion, in the interview and article “Peter Singer: Abortion, the dividing lines,” Singer passionately speaks about his pro-abortion view and how to minimize the pain of the fetus when it is about to be murdered. The article can be related to the interview because Singer tells us what makes a person to be a person and what is a person of being a rational substance. In the interview he uses this example where if a baby was born with only a brain stem and nothing else in the brain.
The child would never recognize his or her parents, have any emotions, communicate or do anything either, Singer argues based on determining whether or not this child is a rational substance, and rational substance is what defines a person to be a person. He said this child may be born by human parents, but it is not a rational substance nor will it ever be rational. A chimpanzee was also mentioned in the interview, where the chimpanzee is far more self aware, rational, capable of connecting and loving other species. The chimpanzee is rational and is just as prestigious as a humans. The child’s life will be completely up to the parents and doctors whether or not they are capable supporting the child and other factors involved. Singer does not think that murdering the child is immoral because that child is not a rational substance and never will be.
I completely agree with Singer in this example, if there was a glimpse of hope where the child can progress I would believe it is wrong to let the child die, but in this scenario it is bringing emotional pain and to parents to see that their child can never recognize or communicate with them. There would not be much difference if the child dies naturally or put to death by parents and doctors, I agree the child is breathing and is alive, but he or she is not living life, not experiencing nor can ever experience the point of living. The point of living in life is to progress, learn, experience all types of hardships and happiness. I am not agreeing that we should let parents decide on whether or not putting to death on every abnormal child’s life, just under certain circumstances where as to speak of a child not being a rational substance or not capable of experience life.
As for the article, Singer argued that abortion does not deal with any moral issues, how it is wrong to ask “When does a human life begin?” and address of potentiality of a fetus becoming a person. He first point out that having and keeping a child is severe hardship. On the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, the brain is not developed to the point where it is conscience. He further discuses how even in the last stages of pregnancy the fetus is not self-aware, and have the capacity to feel pain but it is not capable of doing anything right or wrong. Singer also points out how the opponent’s argues that the fetus have potentiality of becoming a person, or even the next Albert Einstein. He believes this argument is absurd, because billions of human cells can potentially become persons, and with our advance technology today we can make that happen. Singer concluded that the fine line of abortion to draw is at birth.
I think that consequentialism in abortion depends significantly on the parents. I am a pro-choice to begin with, and I strongly concur with Singer on his views. I don’t think it even matters when the fetus forms into a human. I believe that parents are the only ones who can decide whether or not to abort the child because they are the one who have to take responsibility of the child after birth and their life will change significantly because of a child. Parents have to determine whether or not they actually want this child, and check if they are financially stable and emotionally ready.
If abortions were abolished there would be dangerous abortions, more children in orphanages, child abuses and etc. Also the child’s health and wellness could jeopardize, because they were not brought to this world by choice. If it is immoral to abort a child, the risk of immorality of their life after birth is far more greater, and frightening. I think the fine line to draw is at the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy because abortion after a certain period would put the mother and child’s life at risk and if the parents were strongly negative about having a child abortion would occur on the earliest stages of pregnancy.
Another controversial issue I want to discuss is derived from the interview and article “Why we should give away 25% of our pay?” where Singer discusses his views on how “murder is neglect.” and gives suggestions to help the world. In the interview, he shows understanding that everyone have normal obligations in contributing their income to their family and there should be a limit to that. Singer brings up statistic examples of how much children and adults die in a day and it can be preventable. He suggest that we can give up some of our luxury we own including restaurant meals, vacation, drinking tap water instead of bottled and etc.
Singer also included that we can easily give up 10% of our income to organizations and can still live comfortably. The article is quite similar to his interview, and tries to emphasize this point “sorry, you have the same duty in both situations: to prevent poverty and death, simply because you can.” He started off with two examples showing the choices people make over their ethical duty to provide help to others. Singer also discusses the reason why people does not bother helping, it is because the person in need of help is not physically near us we do not feel the need or temptation to help. He continues to show the effort people need to put in, and the drastic changes it make.
I strongly disagree with Singer, I believe charity is a choice rather than our moral obligation. I do feel that it is important to make charitable donations, and I do applaud and support people who are already donating a portion of their income to their local organization. I strongly disagree with Singer’s first example in the article, I would not care about a pair of new shoes over saving a friend’s life. That is not a comparable example to the rest of the ideas Singer expresses. I do not think we need to give up luxury in order to donate. Celebrating our success in restaurants and vacations is a reward to ourselves for the hard work and sacrifices we made to get where we are. It’s comparable to celebrating our independence day on July 4th, we can donate all the money spent on fireworks every year to charity. It goes as far as birthdays, christmas and all these other holidays. Celebrations are occasional rewards we give ourselves, its not like everyone gets a promotion or raise everyday. I am sure that we can defiantly save a huge sum from luxury spendings, however we will no longer be motivated to work as hard knowing that getting a promotion or raise is not a big deal and we end up donating them to charity.
As to drinking bottle water instead of tap water, some people believe that tap water is filthy and not as clean as bottle. Some people uses luxury and money to benefit themselves in some way as their drive to work hard. People sometimes prefer certain luxury brands over cheap ones, because the quality is better and the life span of the product is longer. I agree with Singer that if we do not see the person who is in need physically, the chance of us donating is nearly zero. I think that people make charitable donations to achieve some kind of happiness, and moral fulfillment, but if we do not actually see how the donations actually help, people do not feel like as if they actually helped others in need. I agree that everyone can make a difference in people’s lives, however poverty and death is inevitable, and are everywhere. I believe people can make charitable donations after they care for their own health and wellness first, then care for their families and friends.
Article 1: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/peter-singer-abortion-the-dividing-lines/story-e6frfifo-1111114264781 Article 2: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/world/why-we-all-should-give-away-25-of-our-pay/2007/06/08/1181089326370.html
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Topic: Consequentialism: Morality and Charitable Donations
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