This quotation occurs on p of the second edition of my Practical Ethics. The paragraph in which it occurs begins with the words: "Some say. December 12, Video Series: Larry S. Temkin on Peter Singer, Effective Altruism and Our Obligations to the Needy. 1 response · July 12, For thirty years, Peter Singer's Practical Ethics has been the classic introduction to applied ethics. For this third edition, the author has revised.


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It is well know that he is peter singer practical ethics preference utilitarian, and he spends the bulk of his books discussing the application of that normative system.

What I hadn't remembered from my previous reading of this book is that Singer lays out his stance on meta-ethics in chapter 1.

What is clear from that reading is that Singer does not hold to any particular meta-ethical view, but maintains that several meta-ethical positions are plausible.

Among these are the prescriptivism of his former instructor R. Mackie's error theory, and some form of ideal observer theory.

Practical Ethics - Peter Singer - Google книги

Singer goes on to discuss different conceptions of equality, ultimately arriving at the one that forms the basis peter singer practical ethics applicability for his system of ethics. Basing ethical equality on a descriptive property shared by the bearers of ethical considerablility does not work because only some subset of said bearers may have that property, and not to the same degree.


For instance, using self awareness as the basis for equality would likely include only subsets of a handful of species, including humans. If such a criterion were consistently applied, infants and some severely mentally handicapped persons would be excluded.

Practical Ethics

Such people would be but objects for us to use at our disposal. Singer goes through a number of possible criteria of this kind, peter singer practical ethics time showing some critical peter singer practical ethics in what its logical consequences would have us do.

The system of equality that Singer ends up with is one that owes a great deal to R. Hare, who in turn derives a major component of his ethics from Kant's categorical imperitive, which states: Thus, for Hare as well as Singer, universalizabiltiy in ethics is a fundamental concept, to be applied across the board in all like cases.

For Singer, this means that the interests of all beings are to be weighted equally.

Peter Singer | Practical Ethics

My interests don't count for more simply because they're MY interests, for example. From there Singer applies preference utilitarianism with the above peter singer practical ethics conception of equality to what he considers to some of the biggest ethical problems of our time.


peter singer practical ethics Since suffering has negative peter singer practical ethics, we have reasons to prevent it or alleviate it whenever we can, no matter the species of the individual who experiences it.

As it is suggested in Animal Liberation, and later clearly stated in Practical EthicsSinger believed at the time that only those individuals with a capacity to see themselves as extended over time can have an interest in continuing to live and thus be harmed by dying.

Singer took this to follow from his version of preference utilitarianism, according to which death can only be bad if it frustrates a desire in being alive.

Given that most nonhuman animals lack the necessary peter singer practical ethics capacities to harbour the relevant desire, this would entail that death cannot harm them.

Thus, their interests would give us no reasons against killing them. If those reasons exist they will be given by other peter singer practical ethics, such as the maximisation of net positive experiences. However, recently, Singer changed his view about the badness of death, prompted by his transition from preference utilitarianism to hedonistic utilitarianism.

Nevertheless, Peter Singer has not yet completely fleshed out his new account of the badness of death and the wrongness of killing animals.


In fact, in a recent talkhe identified this topic as one peter singer practical ethics three most important open questions in animal ethics.

The other two are, according to Singer, a the problem of performing interspecies comparisons of well-being and b whether we have reasons to intervene in nature to prevent or alleviate wild animal suffering.

Forty years ago, Peter Singer realised that working on animal ethics was one of the most effective ways of doing good.

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