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A bad argument for a good case: pogge on poverty and negative duties

von Kriegstein, Hasko (2009) A bad argument for a good case: pogge on poverty and negative duties. Saga - Revista de Estudiantes de Filosofía; Vol. 10, núm. 20 (2009) Saga - Revista de Estudiantes de Filosofía; Vol. 10, núm. 20 (2009) 0124-8480 .

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This paper is inspired by Thomas Pogge’s book World Poverty and Human Rights. Pogge explores the moral implications of the extent and severity of world poverty for us —the citizens of affluent countries. In doing so, he assumes the familiar distinction between positive and negative duties. As Pogge puts it: There are two ways of conceiving such poverty as a moral challenge to us: we may be failing to fulfill our positive duty to help persons in acute distress; and we may be failing to fulfill our more stringent negative duty not to uphold injustice, not to contribute to or profit from the unjust impoverishment of others. (Pogge 2008 203, italics in original). While negative duties are acknowledged by a vast majority of Western ethical and political thinkers, positive duties are often contested as unjustified or supererogatory. Pogge, in his attempt to argue that eradication of world poverty is morally required, goes on to argue that we are failing to fulfill our negative duties towards the global poor. Thus, his argument is designed to convince adherents of a lot of different schools of thought that action against poverty is necessary. Relying for a start on a common sense understanding of the distinction between negative and positive duties, I will explore Pogge’s argument. Then, by looking at various accounts of how the positive/negative distinction could be spelled out, I will show that Pogge’s argument fails to establish that the citizens of the affluent countries are violating their negative duties towards the global poor. However unfortunate a result for Pogge’s argument that might be, it is not devastating for the case of duties towards the poor. As I will scrutinize the aforementioned accounts of the positive/negative distinction it will turn out that this distinction cannot be upheld. We therefore need a different account of duties, one that will do away with the artificial sharp line between negative and positive duties. I will gesture towards such an account at the end of my paper and suggest that on such an account we will have reason to accept that we do have a duty to help the global poor.

Tipo de documento:Artículo - Article
Palabras clave:Pogge, Poverty, Negative Duties
Unidad administrativa:Revistas electrónicas UN > Saga - Revista de Estudiantes de Filosofía
Código ID:18678
Enviado por : Dirección Nacional de Bibliotecas STECNICO
Enviado el día :25 Junio 2014 18:49
Ultima modificación:06 Junio 2018 10:42
Ultima modificación:06 Junio 2018 10:42
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