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Peter Singer


Australian philosopher.
Peter Singer
How far down the evolutionary scale shall we go? Shall we eat fish? What about shrimps? Oysters? To answer these questions we must bear in mind the central principle on which our concern for other beings is based...the only legitimate boundary to our concern for the interests of other beings is the point at which it is no longer accurate to say that the other being has interests. To have interests, in a strict, nonmetaphorical sense, a being must be capable of suffering or experiencing pleasure. If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for disregarding that suffering, or for refusing to count it equally with the like suffering of any other being. But the converse of this is also true. If a being is not capable of suffering, or of enjoyment, there is nothing to take into account.
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Human social institutions can effect the course of human evolution. Just as climate, food supply, predators, and other natural forces of selection have molded our nature, so too can our culture.
Singer
Human beings are social animals. We were social before we were human.




Singer Peter quotes
The animals themselves are incapable of demanding their own liberation, or of protesting against their condition with votes, demonstrations, or bombs. Human beings have the power to continue to oppress other species forever, or until we make this planet unsuitable for living beings. Will our tyranny continue, proving that we really are the selfish tyrants that the most cynical of poets and philosophers have always said we are? Or will we rise to the challenge and prove our capacity for genuine altruism by ending our ruthless exploitation of the species in our power, not because we are forced to do so by rebels or terrorists, but because we recognize that our position is morally indefensible? The way in which we answer this question depends on the way in which each one of us, individually, answers it.
Singer Peter
Science does not stand still, and neither does philosophy, although the latter has a tendency to walk in circles.
Peter Singer quotes
The capacity to reason is a special sort of capacity because it can lead us to places that we did not expect to go.
Peter Singer
The principles of ethics come from our own nature as social, reasoning beings.
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The goal of maximizing the welfare of all may be better achieved by an ethic that accepts our inclinations and harnesses them so that, taken as a whole, the system works to everyone's advantage.
Singer
Beginning to reason is like stepping onto an escalator that leads upward and out of sight. Once we take the first step, the distance to be traveled is independent of our will and we cannot know in advance where we shall end.
Singer Peter
The core of ethics runs deep in our species and is common to human beings everywhere. It survives the most appalling hardships and the most ruthless attempts to deprive human beings of their humanity. Nevertheless, some people resist the idea that his core has a biological basis which we have inherited from our pre-human ancestors.
Peter Singer
It is easy for us to criticize the prejudices of our grandfathers, from which our fathers freed themselves. It is more difficult to search for prejudices among the beliefs and values that we hold.




Peter Singer quotes
To protest about bullfighting in Spain, the eating of dogs in South Korea, or the slaughter of baby seals in Canada while continuing to eat eggs from hens who have spent their lives crammed into cages, or veal from calves who have been deprived of their mothers, their proper diet, and the freedom to lie down with their legs extended, is like denouncing apartheid in South Africa while asking your neighbors not to sell their houses to blacks.
Peter Singer
Herbert Spencer is little read now. Philosophers do not regard him as a major thinker. Social Darwinism has long been in disrepute.
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Ethics is inescapable.
Singer Peter
Everyday we act in ways that reflect our ethical judgements.
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There can be no brotherhood when some nations indulge in previously unheard of luxuries, while others struggle to stave off famine.
Peter Singer
When we buy new clothes not to keep ourselves warm but to look "well-dressed" we are not providing for any important need. We would not be sacrificing anything significant if we were to continue to wear our old clothes, and give the money to famine relief. By doing so, we would be preventing another person from starving. It follows from what I have said earlier that we ought to give money away, rather than spend it on clothes which we do not need to keep us warm. To do so is not charitable, or generous. Nor is it the kind of act which philosophers and theologians have called "supererogatory" - an act which it would be good to do, but not wrong not to do. On the contrary, we ought to give the money away, and it is wrong not to do so.
Peter Singer quotes
It is now generally accepted that the roots of our ethics lie in patterns of behavior that evolved among our pre-human ancestors, the social mammals and that we retain within our biological nature elements of these evolved responses. We have learned considerably more about this responses, and we are beginning to to understand how they interact with our capacity to reason.
Peter Singer
If evolution is a struggle for survival, why hasn't it ruthlessly eliminated altruists, who seem to increase another's prospects of survival at the cost of their own?
Singer Peter
We are responsible not only for what we do but also for what we could have prevented.


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