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Durham e-Theses
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The applied ethics aid political philosophy of world poverty and famine

Hart, Simon A.J. (1993) The applied ethics aid political philosophy of world poverty and famine. Masters thesis, Durham University.



In essence, this thesis is concerned with whether manifest gross inequalities in wealth and evidence of 15,000 deaths each day attributable to poverty are consistent with the concept of a morally just world, and, if not, whether the affluent and those in a position of power are morally obliged to challenge the status quo and provide food and security for all. At the centre of the debate lies an examination of the nature of justice. A survey of utilitarian and Kantian theory lead to the conclusion that neither provide a satisfactory basis upon which to base one's moral principles and thus properly address the problem of poverty and famine. Despite a failure to discuss the specific problem of world poverty in any detail, John Rawls' doctrine of "justice as fairness" is found to provide a more adequate description of justice, reconciling liberal and egalitarian traditions, and forming the theoretical basis from which is derived an overriding obligation to bring about global redistribution to end poverty and guarantee basic standards of liberty and material wealth for the whole of humanity. The debate about world poverty and famine not surprisingly centres around redistributive justice and this raises many questions within the sphere of political philosophy. Significantly, given the important influence which the basic structure of society plays in determining the outcome of our lives, Rawlsian justice is shown to have considerable implications for the reform of contemporary social, political and economic institutions. While a blueprint for the eradication of poverty is beyond the scope of this work, it is clear that a solution is at hand given the necessary political and moral will. In conclusion global government, Itself under an obligation to strive for justice, far from being a humanistic pipedream, is seen to be an end that humanity is under an obligation to achieve

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1993
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Oct 2012 15:16

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