Should I care about the starving people in Africa? Am I responsible for feeding them? With all the Christmas charity drives, is it not unfair to ignore the poor right here in my country and instead give money to people in distant country? I feel sorry for them, but I'm not sure about how morally obligated I am to donate my money.

Terrific, and challenging, question, and a very relevant one given all the 'occupy' movements of the past few months -- where many people (young, American, etc.) who are better off than most other people on Earth are demanding to be even better off, rather than demanding to help those who are genuinely worse off! .... Rather than give you my answer, let me refer you to a recent and very provocative and influential (and very readable) book on the subject: Princeton ethicist Peter Singer published, a couple years ago, a book called "THe Life You Can Save," which explores that very question at great length, arguing (in short) that most of us ought to do an awful lot more towards helping even distant others than we actually do .... And once you've read that, you can google 'responses to Singer' and begin exploring the various reasons philosophers offer to suggest that Singer goes too far ...

hope that's a start --


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