2

In Jan Narveson, “Feeding the Hungry,” he states that we do not have a moral obligation to help the needy.

Does this imply he does not believe we have a positive duty?

He also states: "If the fact that others are starving is not our fault, then we do not need to provide for them as a duty of justice"

Does this imply that Jan Narveson does not believe people have a negative duty?

  • Can you state sources? What is implied with negative/positive duty? – mahatmanich Apr 14 '15 at 23:17
1

A positive duty is an obligation to do something. A negative duty is an obligation to refrain from doing something (link). Thus, a common example of a negative duty is that we have a duty not to murder people or a duty not to tell lies. Conversely, a positive duty would be a duty to save people or intervene if we see a child molester or to serve in the army.

In regards to your first question, based on what you are saying, he is denying that we have a positive duty to help the needy.

In regards to your second question, if we look at what you provide, he is again denying that we have a positive duty.

This is because in both cases, he is saying we are not required to do something. Neither refers to what we are prohibited from doing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.