At the moment, I’m interested in imperfect duties and, in particular, the duty of beneficence, and I need some help tracking down the relevant literature with regard to two particular aspects of this duty. First, it seems to me that the duty of beneficence is not a duty to do x amount of good for others (where x is some percentage of the total amount of good that one could possibly do for others), but is instead a duty to dedicate y percent of one’s time and/or resources to helping others. If it were the former as opposed to the latter, then, a person who donates only to NPR (National Public Radio) would have to donate twenty times as much as a relevantly similar person who instead donates only to Oxfam if Oxfam does twenty times as much good for others as NPR does with the same quantity of donated monies. Now, surely, someone has made this point, but since I don’t know the literature that well, could you tell me who and where.
Second, it seems to me that the duty of beneficence requires that we help others to a certain extent over each relatively short segment of our lives and not just that we help others to a certain extent over the courses of our entire lives. I take it, then, that someone violates the imperfect duty of beneficence if she does nothing for others throughout most of her life even if, at the end of her life, she ends up doing as much for others as those who fulfill the duty of beneficence by helping others throughout their lives. Now, clearly, this sort of idea comes from Kant, who holds that the duty of beneficence is a duty to adopt a certain end. But is there someone who makes this point a bit more explicitly. If so, who and where?