The Drowning Child
This activity looks at some of the issues raised by two articles written by philosopher
Peter Singer: the first, the seminal, "Famine,
Affluence, and Morality"; the second, a somewhat shorter article called,
"The Drowning Child
and the Expanding Circle" (it's probably best if you read these
articles after, rather than before, you undertake this activity).
It is necessary to make a couple of things clear before we get going. The first
is that if you're a moral nihilist - i.e., if you think there's no such thing as
right and wrong - then this activity probably isn't for you. (Try out one of our
logic exercises instead, such as
Elementary, My Dear Wason?).
The second has to do with the nature of the scenarios you're going to be asked about.
These are variations on a single baseline scenario (which was first introduced by
Professor Singer). The important point is that you should treat each variation on
its own terms. In particular, the changes introduced in a particular variation don't
carry over to the next variation - all variations are a modification of the original
Okay, that's it really. You're ready to go.