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2006 Philosophy Abstracts

2006 Research Fair Archive - Philosophy Abstracts

The Placelessness of Homelessness:
Our Moral Obligation to Provide Place for Homeless Persons
by Asia Ferrin  (Faculty Sponsor:  Bridget Newll)

Peter Marin discusses society’s obligations toward homeless persons in “Helping and Hating the Homeless.” Marin identifies two different groups of homeless persons and concludes that we have different obligations to each group. Yet, based on Onora O’Neill’s discussion of Kantian ethics, one comes to different conclusions than Marin about the type of obligation we have. Marin explains that the obligation to the first group is a moral obligation, yet obligation to the second group “may not be a moral obligation,” but rather… an “existential obligation”. While Marin is correct in arguing that we have different obligations to the two different groups of homeless persons, I show in this paper that his argument is incomplete and limited because it does not develop a discussion on the moral aspects of our obligation toward the second group. According to Kantian ethics, each obligation toward both homeless groups is moral.