Mathematics & Philosophy (3rd Year)
Famine, Affluence, and Immediacy
My research is on the so called ‘ethics of caring’. In this presentation I outline the position of Michael Slote, who puts forward an account of ethics of caring by appealing to what he calls ‘developed human empathy’, saying that what makes an action morally right or wrong is whether it shows the correct level of empathy.
The presentation will explain a well known paper by Peter Stringer, who argues that our moral obligation to others is not affected by the physical distance between us, i.e. how ‘immediate’ those in need of help are to us. Singer argues that we have much responsibility to save those far away from us by donating to charity than we do to save somebody drowning right before us. I will then outline Slote’s account, which he uses to argue against Singer’s paper; explaining why he thinks that we have a greater moral obligation to save anybody who is dying right before our eyes than we have to save a person dying thousands of miles away.
Finally I will explain my reasons for rejecting Slote’s view by highlighting what I believe are the problems with his account.