Charitable organisations and the rescue principle

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 7 (3):52-66 (2004)
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Despite what Peter Singer and Peter Unger believe, no one violates the ‘rescue principle’ when she makes a frivolous purchase instead of giving to a charity like UNICEF. Nor does any one violate a collective action version of the rescue principle when she makes a frivolous purchase instead of giving to a charity. Garrett Cullity is also mistaken in believing that ‘the transitivity of wrongness’ can be used to reach the conclusion that a failure to give to charity is wrong because a failure to save is. This makes it likely that the requirement to give to charity is based not on the requirement to rescue but instead on the moral requirement to marginally improve the ability of charitable organisations to do their important work.



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John Whelan, Jr.
Lycoming College

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Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Living High and Letting Die.Peter Unger - 1999 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 59 (1):173-175.
Justice and charity.Allen Buchanan - 1987 - Ethics 97 (3):558-575.
Famine and Charity.John M. Whelan - 2010 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):149-166.

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