Discussion and analysis of a contemporary issue – Insiders and Outsiders, by Peter Singer (248 - 258) -- in Chapter 3 of Burr’s work, Philosophy and Contemporary Issues, relevant complementary sources, student’s own positions and reasoning.

One can perfectly observes all the painful consequences of an accident in terms of Nuclear Uzines in an extended vision, as a contemporary example of  misfortune use of such powerful energy.

If he could flashforward, this fact should have given a new direction to his argument, but it happened some years later  he’s written this article.If one can flashback,  it makes us remembering Babylon, because it often connotes captivity and opression, a reassessment of the Babylonian period of exile can reveal the development of a new creative energy in a challenging, pluralistic context outside the  natal homeland” (Vertovec 309).                                 

In terms of insiders and outsiders, he cites a nice example, setting clear that the situation certain people could be, because their economical status, let them share fallout shelters built buy real


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state speculators as international tensions rose in 1990s.  They could live in such conditions for twenty years (10,000 people), with supplies enough to be shared.  They have their system of inclusion and exclusion. The tension between these two worlds is centered in the fact that those ones who want to come in, should have the risk of exposure to radiation diminished, as well as

those ones who are in, would probably want to come out. The problem goes longer if we consider the fact that Fairhaven was built in accordance with luxurious standards of life, like tennis courts, a large gymnasium, and swimming pools. And these space should be used to provide adequate sleeping space. Which alternative should we vote in such condition (Singer 1993)? It claims for some analysis! Which is the criteria people use so that anyone can be in or out? Reasons will always be found. Maybe the position of our governments should be observed. But Singer “notes that it is a small step from "you don't need all these things you buy - you should give to the poor" to "I could give you your tax money back, but you would probably spend it unwisely (Clinton talking about tax cuts). This is arrogance and power-hunger hiding in altruistic clothing.”01But it sounds that as much as we look for examples, as much arrogance we’ll find, no matter how many ones will come in our mind. Which energies move people in an out? What determines the frontiers where anyone has to stay? Examples are.USA and Mexico, Paquistan and Afganistan, Brazil and Argentina (after the crisis). They’re vivid examples of the same situation. Opening frontiers or framing marginality? What’s the choice? Maybe the most coherent position should exam the consequences of any  decisions. Causes can be pointed out   as the  stars in the  sky. But not by those who are blind, and can’t see any  other reality if it’s not his/her own. Anyway, it cannot be a game of seduction. If  people are in, then they have to be treated with proper dignity, or else, there will be no descence, but marginality. “Being


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marginalized   cannot be reduced simply to a struggle between oppressor  and    oppresed in which the latter remains utterly passive (Gunew 27).                            

There’s a conviction that if for any reason the insiders decide to share what they have with the outsiders, it should mean giving up of some luxury in food and facilities, or the leisure recreational areas  as the basic problem is proposed. Dr.  Singer,  in his book, Statement on the Hiring , defines his position, by saying that “there are certain disabled persons as individuals who are living “a life not worth living.”02

If, for any reason, outsiders remain without the adequate protection against radiation, they will also be a risk for those who are in, even if they live in leisure areas. If they stay outside  they’ll fight for food. “Singer's penchant for provocation extends to more mundane matters, like everyday charity.” 03 So, charity should be understood as  a donation of food or extra resources, rather than sharing only the space, in or  out. One thing leads to another.

Providing space for this people,  should be an obligation.  Anyway,  it wouldn’t  sove the problem. Food wouldn’t last for the expected time anymore, besides  risky health precarious conditions of  life, would lead the community to periculous contamination conditions.                                                                                                                            

Then, a number of 500 outsiders could be admitted, the second possibility to admit no outsiders and the third one admits 10,000 outsiders.

The closest trend for these questions one can persecute after reading this chapter, is the fact that changes exist in consequence of the necessity of better adaptation, followed by accommodation, and perhaps a new cycle starts if the last stage does not take place again. It’s a human condition! The questions: Where I came from; Where I am, Where I am going to are references to any of us, in our journey in this planet, no matter how philosophical they seem to be. Men are nomadic since the beginning of the occupation of the planet.

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But competition is a natural feature of humans’ race. Then, with the advent of war, the feelings of nationality, ethnical diversity make the planet becoming so heterogeneous in terms of cultural, religious, moral, political, sociological, economical and philosophical interests. And consequences of the use of forces in societies as Gustavson explains can already be contemplated.

            As Singer mentions, the real world (249) is facing refugees not only because people are looking for better conditions of life, but also by political persecution, discrimination, and banishment. The right of asylum is global, and repatriation, reintegration, and resettlement are important topics in this discussion. Is the myth of returning the best solution? Nevertheless, it depends on the desire of those who abandoned their origins, and many of them do not want to come back to their roots. People become hybrid in so many aspects. Then the real world is not the one they are in nor the one they abandoned (Singer 250-251).

Important moral questions in this discussion emerge from the necessity to know who is a member of our moral community. And this microvision can be expended to a macro, if one can face the frontiers of a country admitting outsiders to overcome them. But Singer also considers that the admission of those in need is an ex gratis act (current orthodoxy). It’s understood as a

charity of the other country in relation with outsiders (Singer 252-253). Immigration police is just a normal expectation to this problem because of interests of those who are in and out (254).

It sounds that filters to ideological speeches coming from representative members of groups, communities, societies, and countries, are more than necessary. And philosophers should not take the analysis of those positions with less interest. We have been facing unexpected reactions for these kinds of conflicts nowadays. Maybe the central fallacy of this problem is the fact that


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none of us would like to leave our roots, because we simply want. And even if the new land is

the promise for all the miserable condition many of us live, it’s still not ours. Singer chooses

Australia as an example of emerging interests of refugees, predicting that they may increase dramatically. Is that politically accepted? Is that moral?  The question is objective. Can’t people stay in their own lands, and live their own pains and conquests? The answer is not that simple.

There will always be something outside to look for, and if the ones who are in do not do so, another communities can perfectly extend their frontiers and domination. Thinking about a solution, one can follow John Lenon’s statement: Imagine all the people living life in piece” That’s what I’ve read in an outdoor at Broadway, New York, after the tragedy in the Financial District. When he speaks about Pakistan, a vivid example of refugees, no matter how assisted

they were by the other nations, mainly the USA, before, during and after the retaliation, he could no longer wonder that kind of insurrection. Everybody’s looking  for an “elsewhere” .

It was like one of my students has drawn: He interpreted the tragedy comparing the situation with a beehive. And he was just a seven year old boy, but with a very objective vision of what it all means whenever outsiders get involved with insiders, even if it’s not to get the honey. The bees have to look for a tree to establish their settlement, and compete with many other communities, even predators, he said. Anyway, it’s Sociobiology. What one can understand with this naive vision is the philosophical experience that there must be an intense investment in

relationship, so that societies can discuss their interests and avoid conflicts, or at least manage

them. It demands too much policy and it’s still considered Utopia.As Singer affirms: “If we shrug our shoulders at the avoidable suffering of the weak and the poor, of those who are getting exploited and ripped off, or who simply do not have enough to sustain life at a decent level, we are not of the left.”04  The greatest fallacy of this argumentation was the given answer of

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September 11th, 2001.  That was the most extremely violent example of insiders and outsiders in

any perspective of discussion and analysis. Internal pression, common interests, cohesion between the groups  in and/or out, will probably lead to confrontation. Basic necessities whenever not  attended will conduce groups to accessment of these products, by negotiation. If one can negotiate his/her  necessities, the neutral region will be  possible in  an average of equilibrium.  Whenever this balance is not  found, violence can possibly be observed.If this behavior is  observed, forces will act so  that the interests can be  minimized,  even if the ideology puts in risk, the life of all the members in conflict. What does  all this  lack of skills to

negotiate interests mean? Perhaps murdering, criminal problems, unjustice, segregation, discrimination, insurrections, once people can stay where they are.But if one rewinds the images of the  planes explosion in NY,   there won’t be so  much to say. All the words seem to be  nothing! Impotence, is the first word that comes to our  mind.

“Paul Taylor defends the adoption of a biocentric ethical attitude of respect for nature. He grounds this attitude in the intelligibility of regarding each living entity as striving to realize its own good and as having the same inherent worth within a network of teleological centres of life. Humans have duties to ecosystems themselves. Recent developments include hostile critiques of any attempt to enlarge the moral community by using either utilitarian or deontological ethical theory. Also under attack is the shared presupposition of both capitalist and socialist economic systems that nature has value only when transformed by human agency.”05 But what for? For whom? By what price? Are we  still dreaming with miserable kids becoming astronauts?

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Each established group of immigrants continues to marginalize new groups of immigrants.06 There’s a moment one can have the sensation, there’s no difference to   be in an out. It’s just an illusion. As  Bachelard affirms in   his work “The New Scientific Spirit”:  “we’re                                                                                                                                             

too much the space we occupy.” If people who are in can’t have the right to live in the space  they’ve payed for, and they  have  to open their space to those who live outside  for charity only, then, it’s not legal,  although it’s moral.

As Pierre-Jean Jouve, repports in “Lirique”: “We are where we aren’t”(Bachelard 247). What does the price  mean? What is the limit of right?Or, how bad are inequalities which are  not the fault of the people who suffer   from them? (Nagel 76) It depends too much of those who open their hands and try to be fair. It really doesn’t matter if people are insiders or outsiders.The lesson of coexistence that James Clifford teaches, seems to  be the solution (Clifford 277). They are marginalized, but respecting   any consideration, they are all humans. They all get hungry dirsty, and cold. Ones will have. Others  won’t.This is the way the humanity is going on. For how long?















01 MSN - The Singer Solution To World Poverty [Free Republic] October 01 2002


02 MSN - Statement on the Hiring of Peter Singer October 01 2002 http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/2900/psai.html

03 MSN- Peter Singer Watch. October 01 2002 http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Exhibit/2412/eugenics/singer.html

04 MSN- A Darwinian Left - Peter Singer. October 01 2002 http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/darwinc/datlse1.htm

05 MSN -Peter Singer Links. October 01 2002. http://www.petersingerlinks.com/

06 MSN- Insiders And Outsiders. October 01 2002. http://www.sentex.net/~jveltri/inside.htm















Internet Research

MSN - Statement on the Hiring of Peter Singer October 01 2002 http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/2900/psai.html

MSN- Peter Singer Watch. October 01 2002 http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Exhibit/2412/eugenics/singer.html

MSN- A Darwinian Left - Peter Singer. October 01 2002 http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/darwinc/datlse1.htm

MSN - The Singer Solution To World Poverty [Free Republic] October 01 2002


MSN- peter singer. October 01 2002. http://www.ecobooks.com/singer.htm

MSN -Peter Singer Links. October 01 2002. http://www.petersingerlinks.com/

MSN- Domain Response Insiders vs. Outsiders. October 01 2002. http://www.wired.com/news/topstories/0,1287,11439,00.html

MSN- Insiders, outsiders, it doesn't matter. October 01 2002. http://www.gazetteonline.com/caucus/edit/gedit012.htm

MSN- Insiders And Outsiders. October 01 2002. http://www.sentex.net/~jveltri/inside.htm

MSN- Chernobyl. October 01 2002. http://www.laneta.apc.org/emis/ong/cecodes/ivan/chernobil.htm

MSN- Chernobyl Ten Years After – Greenpeace. October 01 2002. http://www.greenpeace.org/~comms/nukes/chernob

MSN- Chernobyl Ten Years After. Causes, Consequences, October 01 2002. MSN Solutions.http://archive.greenpeace.org/~comms/nukes/chernob/read25.html

MSN- ECOLOGISTAS EN ACCION Chernobil. La pesadilla continua. October 01 2002. http://www.ecologistasenaccion.org/inicio/eventos/chernobil/chernobil.htm

MSN- Brain Food - The Tragedy of the Commons. October 01 2002. http://dieoff.org/page95.htm

MSN- CNN.com.br - Paquistão aprova cooperação total com os Estados Unidos - 15 de se. October 01 2002. http://cnn.com.br/2001/mundo/asia/09/15/paquistao

MSN- CNN.com.br - Paquistão fecha a fronteira com o Afeganistão - 20 de setembro 2001 October 01 2002. http://cnn.com.br/2001/mundo/asia/09/18/refugiados

MSN- Consulado Geral da Austrália em São Paulo, SP. October 01 2002. http://www.australian-consulate.org.br/

MSN- Garrett Hardin The Tragedy of the Commons (1968). October 01 2002. http://www.constitution.org/cmt/tragcomm.htm

MSN- Garrett Hardin. October 01 2002. http://www.serve.com/ecobooks/hardin.htm

MSN- Guide to Australia. October 01 2002. http://www.csu.edu.au/education/australia.html

MSN- internacional - Paquistão é aliado problemático - 03-10-2001. October 01 2002. http://www.jb.com.br/jb/papel/internacional/2001/10/02/jorint20011002007.html

MSN -John H Noonan. October 01 2002. http://www.pir.org/xnoe/John_H_Noonan.html

MSN- Paquistão. October 01 2002. http://www.consulado.com.br/consulados/paquistao.html

MSN -William Baxter -- Just-in-time Parallel IBR. October 01 2002. http://www.cs.unc.edu/~baxter/courses/236/project.html

MSN -William Baxter Page. October 01 2002. http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/people/wbaxter.html

MSN - William Baxter's home page. October 01 2002. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~wbaxter





Works Cited



Bachelard, Gaston. O novo espírito científico; poética do espaço, Nova Cultural São Paulo,

        Brasil 1988.

Clifford, James. Routes. Cambridge University Press, London, England 1999.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, New York:

       Modern Language Association, USA, 1988.

Goldinger, Milton.  Philosophy and Contemporary Issues. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, 


Gunew, Sneja. Framing Marginality, Melbourne University Press, 1994.

Nagel, Thomas. What Does It All Mean? , Oxford University Press, New York, USA, 1987.

Vertovec, Steven. Migration, Diasporas and Transnationalism. University of Warwick, UK,




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