Bringing together new essays by philosophers and activists, _In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave_ highlights the new challenges facing the animal rights movement. Exciting new collection edited by controversial philosopher Peter Singer, who made animal rights into an international concern when he first published _In Defence of Animals_ and _Animal Liberation_ over thirty years ago Essays explore new ways of measuring animal suffering, reassess the question of personhood, and draw highlight tales of effective advocacy Lays out “Ten Tips for (...) Activists”, taking the reader beyond ethical theory and into the day-to-day campaigns for animal rights. (shrink)
Peter Singer's remarkably clear and comprehensive Practical Ethics has become a classic introduction to applied ethics since its publication in 1979 and has been translated into many languages. For this second edition the author has revised all the existing chapters, added two new ones, and updated the bibliography. He has also added an appendix describing some of the deep misunderstanding of and consequent violent reaction to the book in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where the book has tested the limits of (...) freedom of speech. The focus of the book is the application of ethics to difficult and controversial social questions. (shrink)
Acting Now to End World Poverty Peter Singer. were our own, and we cannot deny that the suffering and death are bad. The second premise is also very difficult to reject, because it leaves us some wiggle room when it comes to situations in.
As I write this, in November 1971, people are dying in East Bengal from lack of food, shelter, and medical caxc. The suffering and death that are occurring there now axe not inevitable, 1101; unavoidable in any fatalistic sense of the term. Constant poverty, a cyclone, and a civil war have turned at least nine million people into destitute refugees; nevertheless, it is not beyond Lhe capacity of the richer nations to give enough assistance to reduce any further suffering to (...) very small proportions. The decisions arid actions of human beings can prevent this kind of suffering. Unfortunately, human beings have not made the necessary decisions. At the individual level, people have, with very few exceptions, not responded to the situation in any signihczmt way. Generally speaking, people have not given large sums to relief funds; they have not written t0 their parliamentaxy representatives demanding increased government assistance; they have not demonstrated in the streets, held symbolic fasts, or done anything else directed toward providing thc refugees with the means to satisfy their essential needs. At thc government level, no govcrmmcnt has given the sort of massive aid that would enable the refugees to survive fm: more than a few days. Britain, for instance, has given rather more than most countries. It has, to date, given £14,750,000. For comparative purposes, B1~itain’s share of thc nonreccverabla development costs of the Anglo-French Concorde project is already in excess of £275,000,000, and on present estimates will reach £440,000,¤00. The implication is that the British government values a supersonic transport more than thirty times as.. (shrink)
For millennia, philosophers have speculated about the origins of ethics. Recent research in evolutionary psychology and the neurosciences has shed light on that question. But this research also has normative significance. A standard way of arguing against a normative ethical theory is to show that in some circumstances the theory leads to judgments that are contrary to our common moral intuitions. If, however, these moral intuitions are the biological residue of our evolutionary history, it is not clear why we should (...) regard them as having any normative force. Research in the neurosciences should therefore lead us to reconsider the role of intuitions in normative ethics. (shrink)
The new commandments according to Rethinking Life and Death . --If you must take human life, take responsibility for the consequences of your decisions. --All human life is not of equal worth treat beings in accordance to the ethical situation at hand. --Respect a person's desire to live or die. A profound and provocative work, Rethinking Life and Death , in the tradition of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World , examines the ethical dilemmas that confront us as we near the (...) twenty-first century. (shrink)
In recent years a number of oppressed groups have campaigned vigorously for equality. The classic instance is the Black Liberation movement, which demands an end to the prejudice and discrimination that has made blacks second-class citizens. The immediate appeal of the black liberation movement and its initial, if limited, success made it a model for other oppressed groups to follow. We became familiar with liberation movements for Spanish-Americans, gay people, and a variety of other minorities. When a majority group—women—began their (...) campaign, some thought we had come to the end of the road. Discrimination on the basis of sex, it has been said, is the last universally accepted form of discrimination, practiced without secrecy or pretense even in those liberal circles that have long prided themselves on their freedom from prejudice against racial minorities. (shrink)
Since its original publication in 1975, this groundbreaking work has awakened millions of people to the existence of "speciesism"âour systematic disregard of nonhuman animalsâinspiring a worldwide movement to transform our attitudes to animals and eliminate the cruelty we inflict on them. In Animal Liberation, author Peter Singer exposes the chilling realities of today’s "factory farms" and product-testing proceduresâdestroying the spurious justifications behind them, and offering alternatives to what has become a profound environmental and social as well as moral issue. An (...) important and persuasive appeal to conscience, fairness, decency, and justice, it is essential reading for the supporter and the skeptic alike. (shrink)
Evolutionary accounts of the origins of human morality may lead us to doubt the truth of our moral judgments. Sidgwick tried to vindicate ethics from this kind of external attack. However, he ended The Methods in despair over another problem—an apparent conflict between rational egoism and universal benevolence, which he called the “dualism of practical reason.” Drawing on Sidgwick, we show that one way of defending objectivity in ethics against Sharon Street’s recent evolutionary critique also puts us in a position (...) to support a bold claim: the dualism of practical reason can be resolved in favor of impartiality. (shrink)
If we agree with the notion of a global community, then we must extend our concepts of justice, fairness, and equity beyond national borders by supporting measures to decrease global warming and to increase foreign aid, argues Peter Singer.
Many people believe that all human life is of equal value. Most of them also believe that all human beings have a moral status superior to that of nonhuman animals. But how are these beliefs to be defended? The mere difference of species cannot in itself determine moral status. The most obvious candidate for regarding human beings as having a higher moral status than animals is the superior cognitive capacity of humans. People with profound mental retardation pose a problem for (...) this set of beliefs, because their cognitive capacities are not superior to those of many animals. I argue that we should drop the belief in the equal value of human life, replacing it with a graduated view that applies to animals as well as to humans. (shrink)
B'Imagine that you could choose a book that everyone in the world would read. My choice would be this book.' Roger Crisp, Ethics -/- Many people have an uneasy feeling that they may be missing out on something basic that would give their lives a significance it currently lacks. But how should we live? What is there to stop us behaving selfishly? In a highly readable account which makes reference to a wide variety of sources and everyday issues, Peter Singer (...) suggests that the conventional pursuit of self- interest is individually and collectively self-defeating. Taking into consideration the beliefs of Jesus, Kant, Rousseau, and Adam Smith amongst others, he looks at a number of different cultures, including America, Japan, and the Aborigines to assess whether or not selfishness is in our genes and how we may find greater satisfaction in an ethical lifestyle. (shrink)
What is ethics? Where does it come from? Can we really hope to find any rational way of deciding how we ought to live? If we can, what would it be like, and how are we going to know when we have found it? To capture the essentials of what we know about the origins and nature of ethics, Peter Singer has drawn on anthropology, evolution, game theory, and works of fiction, in addition to the classic moral philosophy of such (...) thinkers as Nietzsche, Kant, and Confucius. By choosing some of the finest pieces of writing, old and new, in and about ethics, he conveys the intellectual excitement of the search for answers to basic questions about how we ought to live. From the debates of Socrates and the profound writing of Rousseau to Jane Goodall's reflections on the ethics of chimpanzee kinship and Luther's commentary on the Sixth Commandment (thou shalt not kill), this engaging reader offers a complete and thorough introduction to the fascinating world of ethical debate. (shrink)
_From the ethicist the _New Yorker_ calls “the most influential living philosopher,” a new way of thinking about living ethically_ Peter Singer’s books and ideas have been disturbing our complacency ever since the appearance of _Animal Liberation_. Now he directs our attention to a new movement in which his own ideas have played a crucial role: effective altruism. Effective altruism is built upon the simple but profound idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the "most good you can (...) do." Such a life requires an unsentimental view of charitable giving: to be a worthy recipient of our support, an organization must be able to demonstrate that it will do more good with our money or our time than other options open to us. Singer introduces us to an array of remarkable people who are restructuring their lives in accordance with these ideas, and shows how living altruistically often leads to greater personal fulfillment than living for oneself. _The Most Good You Can Do _develops the challenges Singer has made, in the _New York Times _and _Washington Post_, to those who donate to the arts, and to charities focused on helping our fellow citizens, rather than those for whom we can do the most good. Effective altruists are extending our knowledge of the possibilities of living less selfishly, and of allowing reason, rather than emotion, to determine how we live. _The Most Good You Can Do _offers new hope for our ability to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. (shrink)
Sidgwick's defence of esoteric morality has been heavily criticized, for example in Bernard Williams's condemnation of it as 'Government House utilitarianism.' It is also at odds with the idea of morality defended by Kant, Rawls, Bernard Gert, Brad Hooker, and T.M. Scanlon. Yet it does seem to be an implication of consequentialism that it is sometimes right to do in secret what it would not be right to do openly, or to advocate publicly. We defend Sidgwick on this issue, and (...) show that accepting the possibility of esoteric morality makes it possible to explain why we should accept consequentialism, even while we may feel disapproval towards some of its implications. (shrink)
Our traditional ways of thinking about life and death are collapsing. In a world of respirators and embryos stored for years in liquid nitrogen, we can no longer take the sanctity of human life as the cornerstone of our ethical outlook. In this controversial book Peter Singer argues that we cannot deal with the crucial issues of death, abortion, euthanasia, and the rights of nonhuman animals unless we sweep away the old ethic and build something new in its place. Singer (...) outlines a new set of commandments, based on compassion and commonsense, for the decisions everyone must make about life and death. (shrink)
It is one thing to say that the suffering of non-human animals ought to be considered equally with the like suffering of humans; quite another to decide how the wrongness of killing non-human animals compares with the wrongness of killing human beings. It is argued that while species makes no difference to the wrongness of killing, the possession of certain capacities, in particular the capacity to see oneself as a distinct entity with a future, does. It is claimed, however, that (...) this is not the only factor to be taken into account: pleasant or happy life is in itself good. The application of these conclusions to killing animals for food is then considered, with some passing reflections on infanticide. (shrink)
A decade ago, we reviewed the field of clinical ethics; assessed its progress in research, education, and ethics committees and consultation; and made predictions about the future of the field. In this article, we revisit clinical ethics to examine our earlier observations, highlight key developments, and discuss remaining challenges for clinical ethics, including the need to develop a global perspective on clinical ethics problems.
Dying before one’s time has been a prominent theme in classic literature and poetry. Catherine Linton’s youthful death in Wuthering Heights leaves behind a bereft Heathcliff and generations of mourning readers. The author herself, Emily Brontë, died young from tuberculosis. John Keats’ Ode on Melancholy captures the transitory beauty of 19th century human lives too often ravished by early death. Keats also died of tuberculosis, aged 25. “The bloom, whose petals nipped before they blew, died on the promise of the (...) fruit” is how Percy Bysshe Shelley expressed his grief over Keats’ death. Emily Dickinson wrote So Has a Daisy Vanished, being driven into depression by the early loss of loved ones from typhoid and tuberculosis. (shrink)
In the Brazilian film "Central Station," Dora is a retired schoolteacher who makes ends meet by sitting at the station writing letters for illiterate people. Suddenly she has an opportunity to pocket $1,000. All she has to do is persuade a homeless 9-year-old boy to follow her to an address she has been given. (She is told he will be adopted by wealthy foreigners.) She delivers the boy, gets the money, spends some of it on a television set and settles (...) down to enjoy her new acquisition. Her neighbor spoils the fun, however, by telling her that the boy was too old to be adopted â€”he will be killed and his organs sold for transplantation. Perhaps Dora knew this all along, but after her neighbor's plain speaking, she spends a troubled night. In the morning Dora resolves to take the boy back. (shrink)
ABSTRACTAnthony Skelton, Violetta Igneski and Tracy Isaacs share my view that our obligations to help people in extreme poverty go beyond what is conventionally accepted. Nevertheless, the other contributors argue that my view is too demanding, while noting some tensions between my different writings on this issue. I explain my position, drawing on Sidgwick’s distinction between what someone ought to do, and what we should praise or blame someone for doing or not doing. I also respond to the position that (...) Skelton considers preferable to mine, drawing this time on an argument that Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and I have made in our recent book, The Point of View of the Universe. I also address Igneski’s concerns about gender inequality, and indicate my broad agreement with Isaacs’ suggestion that effective altruism could benefit from a more co-ordinated approach. (shrink)
In Animal Liberation I argued that we commonly ignore or discount the interests of sentient members of other species merely because they are not human, and that this bias in favour of members of our own species is, in important respects, parallel to the biases that lie behind racism and sexism. Shelly Kagan, in ‘What's Wrong With Speciesism’ misconstrues this argument, as well as the principle of equal consideration of interests, which I offer as an alternative to speciesism. Kagan also (...) offers, as an alternative explanation of, and possible justification for, our discounting the interests of nonhuman animals, the suggestion that your interests count more if you are a member of a species whose typical adult members are persons. Although this view is not a form of speciesism, Kagan seems not to be aware of the fact that it is a view commonly defended by advocates of natural law ethics, on which there is already an extensive critical literature. (shrink)
Even though it has always seemed to me so evidently erroneous, the view that we must test our normative theories against our intuitions has continued to have many adherents [...]. But now it faces its most serious challenge yet, in the form of Peter Unger's Living High and Letting Die. On one level this book is an attempt to tighten the argument I advanced in 'Famine, affluence and morality'. Unger argues that we do wrong when we fail to send money (...) to overseas aid organizations that will use it to save many lives. But he does much more than that. He makes his argument by presenting a wide variety of examples and telling us about the intuitive responses that he had found most people - especially his students - have to them. The responses are very difficult to reconcile with each other. Unger then offers explanations for them. His explanations are devastating for the view that we should take our intuitive responses to particular cases as the test of a sound theory, because the explanations show that our intuitive judgments are based on things that are obviously of no moral significance at all. Here is an example. Unger uses some variants on the 'trolley problem', much discussed by philosophers during the past thirty years. The problem is posed by a runaway trolley rolling down the railway track, on course to kill several innocent people further down the line. In one version of the problem you can throw a switch that will divert the trolley down another track, where it will kill just one innocent person. In another version, there is no switch, but you could push a very heavy person off a bridge in front of the trolley. The heavy person will be killed, but the trolley will be stopped and the six people will be saved. Most people think that you should throw the switch, thus causing one to die, rather than six; but they think it would be wrong to push the heavy person off the bridge into the path of the trolley. To a consequentialist this difference is puzzling. In both achieve this outcome? A Kantian, however, can claim that the responses show that our intuitions are in line with the Kantian idea that it is wrong to use someone as a means, even if by doing so there is a net saving of innocent human life. (shrink)
Background There are numerous ethical challenges that can impact patients and families in the health care setting. This paper reports on the results of a study conducted with a panel of clinical bioethicists in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the purpose of which was to identify the top ethical challenges facing patients and their families in health care. A modified Delphi study was conducted with twelve clinical bioethicist members of the Clinical Ethics Group of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. (...) The panel was asked the question, what do you think are the top ten ethical challenges that Canadians may face in health care? The panel was asked to rank the top ten ethical challenges throughout the Delphi process and consensus was reached after three rounds. Discussion The top challenge ranked by the group was disagreement between patients/families and health care professionals about treatment decisions. The second highest ranked challenge was waiting lists. The third ranked challenge was access to needed resources for the aged, chronically ill, and mentally ill. Summary Although many of the challenges listed by the panel have received significant public attention, there has been very little attention paid to the top ranked challenge. We propose several steps that can be taken to help address this key challenge. (shrink)
Background Intensivists must provide enough analgesia and sedation to ensure dying patients receive good palliative care. However, if it is perceived that too much is given, they risk prosecution for committing euthanasia. The goal of this study is to develop consensus guidelines on analgesia and sedation in dying intensive care unit patients that help distinguish palliative care from euthanasia. Methods Using the Delphi technique, panelists rated levels of agreement with statements describing how analgesics and sedatives should be given to dying (...) ICU patients and how palliative care should be distinguished from euthanasia. Participants were drawn from 3 panels: 1) Canadian Academic Adult Intensive Care Fellowship program directors and Intensive Care division chiefs (N = 9); 2) Deputy chief provincial coroners (N = 5); 3) Validation panel of Intensivists attending the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group meeting (N = 12). Results After three Delphi rounds, consensus was achieved on 16 statements encompassing the role of palliative care in the intensive care unit, the management of pain and suffering, current areas of controversy, and ways of improving palliative care in the ICU. Conclusion Consensus guidelines were developed to guide the administration of analgesics and sedatives to dying ICU patients and to help distinguish palliative care from euthanasia. (shrink)
" From the divergences between analytical and continental approaches to the relevance of posthumanist thinking in contemporary ethics, the psychology of speciesism, and the practical consequences of an antiperfectionist stance, The Death of ...
The association of women with caring dispositions and thinking has become a persistent theme in recent feminist writing. There are a number of reasons for this. One reason is the impetus that has been provided by the empirical work of Carol Gilligan on women’s moral development. The fact that this association is not merely an ideologically or philosophically postulated one, but is argued for on empirical grounds, tends to add to its credibility. Another reason for the resilience of the association (...) is the existence of an increasingly prominent theme in feminist thought and action that focuses on the importance of women’s difference from men, both as a fact and as a goal. Within this theme, there are various views on what the relevant differences are between women and men, and why the differences ought to be emphasized and properly respected. Women’s caring, as will be seen, turns out to have a ﬁrm presence in all of these views, and as a result, many women argue that caring should form the basis of a distinctive feminist ethic. On these views, women’s approaches to understanding moral situations, deﬁning selfconceptions, choosing goals and roles, and guiding behaviour, should all be informed by and based upon dispositions of caring. However, if this idea of a feminist ethic of care is to be plausible, it will need to be reconciled with another strong theme in feminism, according to which in fundamental moral respects women ought not be considered or treated differently from men. We will examine the standing of a feminist ethic of care in the context of this tension between the difference theme and the sameness theme in feminism. The discussion begins by re-characterizing the justice and care debate in terms of impartialist and partialist ethical perspectives, and it then goes on to indicate the various ways in which women’s presumed disposition to caring and partialism ﬁnds prominence within the difference theme. The central focus of the discussion, however, will be the question of how to reconcile the conﬂict that exists between impartialist, justice-based moral thinking, and a partialist, caring approach to morality.. (shrink)
Priority setting (also known as resource allocation or rationing) occurs at every level of every health system and is one of the most significant health care policy questions of the 21st century. Because it is so prevalent and context specific, improving priority setting in a health system entails improving it in the institutions that constitute the system. But, how should this be done? Normative approaches are necessary because they help identify key values that clarify policy choices, but insufficient because different (...) approaches lead to different conclusions and there is no consensus about which ones are correct, and they are too abstract to be directly used in actual decision making. Empirical approaches are necessary because they help to identify what is being done and what can be done, but are insufficient because they cannot identify what should be done. Moreover, to be really helpful, an improvement strategy must utilize rigorous research methods that are able to analyze and capture experience so that past problems are corrected and lessons can be shared with others. Therefore, a constructive, practical and accessible improvement strategy must be research-based and combine both normative and empirical methods. In this paper we propose a research-based improvement strategy that involves combining three linked methods: case study research to describe priority setting; interdisciplinary research to evaluate the description using an ethical framework; and action research to improve priority setting. This describe-evaluate-improve strategy is a generalizable method that can be used in different health care institutions to improve priority setting in that context. (shrink)
In his "consequences of utilitarianism", D. H. Hodgson argues that to act on the principle of act-Utilitarianism would have disastrous consequences, And that this principle must therefore be rejected. I attempt to refute his argument. The debate centers on whether there can be an act-Utilitarian justification for telling the truth and keeping promises.