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Contemporary Philosophical Faces of Deontology and Consequentialism – John Rawls and Peter Singer

  • Susan P. Murphy
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Global Justice book series (JUST, volume 13)

Abstract

This chapter examines the following question – to what extent do contemporary ethical approaches to the duty of assistance offer ways to resolve the tensions faced by those engaged in the current practice of assistance? Two broad categories of responses that cut across traditional consequentialist and deontological boundaries are evident – instructive accounts that seek to specify precisely what the duty of assistance entails, and more specifically, what the content of this obligation is for affluent citizens towards those in need beyond their borders; and distributive accounts that resist the temptation to specify the content of the duty, focusing instead on opportunities offered by the imperfect structure of this duty, the possibilities of agency, and the processes and tools required for giving expression to this duty in different contexts that interrupt the usual order and practice. This chapter focuses on the first group of accounts through a comparative analysis of the work of John Rawls and Peter Singer. It argues that the instructive focus proposed in both approaches are at risk of over-specifying and simultaneously and under-estimating the requirements and reach of the duty of assistance. Ultimately, it argues that such instructive accounts do not provide pathways to resolve the tensions faced by those engaged in the current practice of global assistance.

Keywords

Moral Duty Affluent State Imperfect Duty Practical Ethic Liberal People 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan P. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Natural SciencesTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland

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