Is Peter Singer inconsistent in his ethics?

Cadernos Do Pet Filosofia 5 (10):45-52 (2014)


Peter Singer in his Practical Ethics and in other works as well gives importance to reason in making an ethical decision. Thinkers question Singer’s consistency and employment of reason in his ethical decisions. Jacqueline A Laing talks about Singer’s inconsistency in her article 'Inconsistency and Consequentialism'. With reference to animal rights and abortion, she claims that Singer uses different yardstick, thus Singer is inconsistent. She remarks that Singer uses the notion of ‘sentientism’ for the defense of animal rights, whereas he comes up with ‘personism’ for human centered ethics. She claims that if Singer is consistent why can’t he use the same notion of ‘sentientism’ for animal rights as well as issues on humans like disabled human beings? According to her, this suggests there is an inconsistency in Singer’s work on ethical issues concerning animals and ethical issues concerning humans. As a corollary conclusion, she claims that Singer is biased towards animals. In this paper, the authors try to show that there is no such inconsistency. Contrary to her claims, the authors like to show that Singer uses personism in the discussions related to animals and similarly he uses sentientism in his discussion related to abortion and other human centered ethical issues. Therefore, Laing’s claims about Singer’s inconsistency and her following claim that Singer is biased towards animals need to be reconsidered

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References found in this work

Practical Ethics.Peter Singer - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.
Practical Ethics.John Martin Fischer - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (2):264.
Practical Ethics.Peter Singer - 1979 - Philosophy 56 (216):267-268.
Practical Ethics, 2nd Edition.Peter Singer - 1993 - Cambridge University Press.
Innocence and Consequentialism.Jacqueline A. Laing - 1997 - In David S. Oderberg & Jacqueline A. Laing (eds.), Human Lives: Critical Essays on Consequentialist Bioethics. Macmillan. pp. 196--224.

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