Apeiron Society for the
Practice of Philosophy
February 24th, 2015 at
Valhalla Room of the Scandinavian Centre,
739 – 20th Ave N.W.
||“Misery and Help”
||Trudy Govier, Department of Philosophy (emerita), University of Lethbridge
this philosophical dialogue, three characters explore issues about
charitable giving. Their discussion arises after a dinner presented to
raise funds for the hungry. At that event, structured to mirror global
inequality, all pay equally for a meal, while some are given a fancy
dinner and others only watery soup. In their conversation, Allen
favours a libertarian stance, starting from the ideas of Ayn Rand in
Atlas Shrugged. He explores issues with Emma, a UNICEF worker striving
for the world’s vulnerable people and advocating charitable giving in
response to extreme need. Emma explains and defends the view of the
utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer.
Do those who are well-off
have an obligation to give to support those in need? Does supporting
the needy make us better people? Happier people? Can governments
rightly tax earnings to fund programs for needy people at home and
abroad? What about contexts in which charitable giving turns out to be
counter-productive? If waste and abuse can be found in some charitable
programs, does that mean charitable giving is futile? These and related
issues are explored in a balanced three-way discussion.
The dialogue will be read by Lynda Cherry, David Boutland, and Richard Farrand. Trudy Govier will lead a discussion afterward.
Trudy Govier taught philosophy at
Trent University and the University of Lethbridge. She is the author of
several books including A Practical Study of Argument, God the Devil
and the Perfect Pizza, and Socrates’ Children. Now retired from the
University of Lethbridge, Trudy is Vice President of the Apeiron
Society and active with several other community groups in Calgary.