Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poor Pete and Wealthy William

Poor Pete has only $100 dollars to his name. One day, Poor Pete sees a bum and gives this bum $10.

Wealthy William has a million dollars. One day, Wealthy William sees the same bum and gives this bum $20.

Which act was more moral (or perhaps morally praiseworthy)? Based solely on these actions, who was the better person?

This raises some other questions, such as charity given by countries. Which country is more praiseworthy, the country that gives more money but a smaller percent of their total budget, or the country that gives less money but a larger percent of their total budget?

And what about a theory like utilitarianism that wants to maximize the greatest good for the greatest number of people? Wouldn't such a theory be committed to saying that Wealthy William's donations was the better act? Does that seem correct?

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