Partiality as Justice: a Critique of Thomas Pogge's World Poverty and Human Rights
Weber, Alexander W.
Washington and Lee University, Shepherd Poverty Program
Pogge, Thomas, 1953-
Conduct of life
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Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Alexander W. Weber is a member of the Class of 2009 of Washington and Lee University.. . . I find the priority and emphasis Pogge gives to negative obligations in formulating our moral obligation to alleviate poverty to be troubling. In Pogge's work, positive obligations based on justice can only arise when it is demonstrated that we are privy to institutions that inflict undue harm on other persons. Framing our moral theory regarding poverty in this way proves needlessly troublesome and relies on an ethical framework that seeks only the bare minimum from humankind. It is my contention that our moral obligation to address the needs of those in poverty arises from an equally powerful, positive obligation towards justice that exists regardless of whether we are responsible for the inequities that leave basic human rights unfulfilled. This demand arises not from any autonomy-based, do no harm mentality, but rather from a shared belief in the dignity of human life. [From Introduction]Alex Weber