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Ethics and HumanityThemes from the Philosophy of Jonathan Glover$
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N. Ann Davis, Richard Keshen, and Jeff McMahan

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195325195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325195.001.0001

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Bystanders to Poverty

Bystanders to Poverty

Chapter:
(p.185) 10 Bystanders to Poverty
Source:
Ethics and Humanity
Author(s):

Peter Singer (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325195.003.0010

In Causing Death and Saving Lives, Jonathan Glover denies the importance of the moral distinction between acts and omissions. Yet in Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century, he overlooks the enormous loss of life caused by the failure of the affluent to give sufficient aid to prevent millions of poverty‐related deaths each year. Glover does condemn those who did nothing to prevent genocide or come to the aid of its victims, when they could have done so at no risk to themselves. Could it be that stopping genocide is a higher moral priority than stopping poverty‐related deaths? I argue that we should not accept this view and conclude that Glover's own work offers good reasons for taking very seriously our failure to reduce poverty‐related deaths.

Keywords:   bystanders, poverty, genocide, Glover

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