The most good you can do: a response to the commentaries

Peter Singer

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2 Scopus citations


Anthony Skelton, Violetta Igneski and Tracy Isaacs share my view that our obligations to help people in extreme poverty go beyond what is conventionally accepted. Nevertheless, the other contributors argue that my view is too demanding, while noting some tensions between my different writings on this issue. I explain my position, drawing on Sidgwick’s distinction between what someone ought to do, and what we should praise or blame someone for doing or not doing. I also respond to the position that Skelton considers preferable to mine, drawing this time on an argument that Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and I have made in our recent book, The Point of View of the Universe. I also address Igneski’s concerns about gender inequality, and indicate my broad agreement with Isaacs’ suggestion that effective altruism could benefit from a more co-ordinated approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 3 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Altruism
  • blame
  • demandingness
  • obligation
  • poverty


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