Earth



NOTES AND
STUDY GUIDE


FINAL PAPER TOPIC           HUMAN RIGHTS            PHILOSOPHY 19A

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10. Informational Directness

X. In the Case of the Drowning Child in the Pond John acquires his information directly; he "sees" what he needs to do. But in the case of The Envelope the information is much more indirect.

How an agent learns of the great need he can help meet may make a difference in certain cases, but if it does, it usually does so because the information that we acquire indirectly is less reliable or we are less inclined to be sure if it's true. But in the case of The Envelope you can be quite certain what is going to happen if you do not contribute to UNICEF. And if this is, isn't it also true that the fact that you acquire the information directly morally insignificant? (Adapted from Unger)

Man with Bike, Cambodia




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February 14, 1998
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Oxfam America and CARE
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