Peter Singer
(04-16-2010, 09:10 AM)i.p.i. Wrote: there are pro-life atheists. 

Yes, there are. It is interesting because, if I consider the question without the faith as a premise, I get the same answer: abortion is ethically wrong. However, if there is no God, then who cares? In fact, without God, ethics is a meaningless subject. I think St. Thomas Aquinas had something to say about that.

Quote:it's just such an unnatural, callous thing to do.

Singer would argue (and has argued) that just because something is natural doesn't mean it can't be "improved" (as he put it).

As for its callousness, the ethicist would argue that just because a conclusion doesn't sit well with our emotions does not make the conclusion false.

Quote:be careful, though, with this topic.  will your prof be likely to mark you down for being a male opposing "women's right to choose"?  if so, are you willing to take a lower grade for speaking truth? 

No no. I'm writing about this topic because I choose to, not because it is the requirement of some professor.

Quote:  there are other issues to criticize Singer on, issues on which fewer people agree with him, and probably on which fewer papers are written, which could be an advantage to you.  his writings about the disabled are awful and would be a good topic, as would his writings on animal rights.  you could write about his support of infanticide for the disabled instead of abortion, or combine the two.   

Well, yes I could. That is a good idea and one that I have considered. But, with Singer, given the framework he has created, his conclusions are the usually the logical deductions of his premises. In most cases, his arguments are valid. So if one seeks to refute Singer one usually must first attack his premises. In this case, though, I think it could be argued that his conclusion is false because it doesn't follow from his own premise. So, in this case, I think it can be said that his argument is not even valid.

Quote:one of the things i hate about Singer is that he thinks it's ethically permissible to kill the disabled because he assumes he wouldn't like to live that way. 

Right, which is the tip of the iceburg of my objection. That assumption that he makes eliminates the interest of the organism to choose for itself whether or not it would want to live. In this way, he contradicts his own equal consideration of interests principle (which, if you have not read it, you should take a look at it).

Though, in the case of severely mentally handicapped individuals, Singer would argue that the disabled wouldn't be capable of making such a decision. Therefore, they do not share this same equal consideration of interests. You could try to argue that the opportunity of life is the fundamental interest that allows us to have other interests, and that could work, but he would probably contest that it is not in everyone's best interest to have this opportunity because many have it and then kill themselves by their own choice. The battle then comes down to whether or not one believes in the soul.

Quote: if you wanted to discuss disability rights and the issue of infanticide and/or abortion of the disabled, there are many online websites and Singer is often discussed on them.  one is called Not Dead Yet. 

the media never covered it, but many disability rights groups, like NotDeadYet, opposed the murder of Terri Schiavo and some went down there and demonstrated in wheelchairs, which you'd think would have been a good photo op for the media.  it was not only "anti-abortion activists" supporting Terri's right to life as the media claimed.

That sounds like a good idea. Though, I think I will stick with choosing to debate the subject of those who are physically (but not mentally) disabled. Those who have been born in (what doctors most incorrectly call) PVS (Permanent Vegatative State) create a more difficult case to maintain. Singer would present all sorts of emotionally powerful accounts of persons who were in such great pain and discomfort that the only interest they share with us is their interest to be rid of the pain, which would be provided by killing them. If either you or Antonius (or anyone else) would like to jump in on that I'd be more than welcome to read your arguments against Singer, but without God as a premise, and with PECI as a premise, his argument seems valid to me.

Quote:full disclosure:  i always opposed euthanasia and abortion and supported disability rights, always accepted special ed kids into my classes (many teachers will refuse to allow special ed kids to be mainstreamed into their classes), never dreaming i'd end up with physical disabilities myself.  i have since found that many people do not understand disabilities and seem to think that i could still do everything i used to if i just tried harder.  in other words, i don't look disabled enough.  my mistake.

Quote: a very intelligent woman who had been severely physically disabled from birth but went to college, became a lawyer, practiced law, had a life, used to debate Peter Singer.  she died in 2008.  her name was Harriet McBryde Johnson.  the NY Times had Singer write her obituary.  unbelievable!

That is very interesting.

Quote:Paul Longmore, historian and Director of the Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University, wrote a letter responding to Singer's obituary for Harriet.  The Times never printed it.  you can read it here:


you have to scroll down past three articles, i think, to get to the one i mean, but two of the others are about Singer so they might be interesting to you.

and here are 12 articles that have something about Singer in them:


here's their links page, which gets you to some other disability activism pages, which might be helpful:

another favorite site of mine is

you'll get a page full of articles going back to 1991 if you search for 'peter singer' there and you'll need to do another search for the articles published since 2001.

Wow. Thank you for all of those. I will definately take a look at them.

Quote:Singer once admitted that he had provided care for his mother that he had written should be denied to the elderly.  what a hypocrite.  that's all i've got for now.

Sounds like he "sinned" against what he ought to do. But in reality, why not? There's no God to judge you so you can't possibly be at a disadvantage.

Still, I think Singer would argue that, as a preference consequentialist, what is considered a good consequence is dependent on individual preference.

Messages In This Thread
Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-12-2010, 06:18 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-15-2010, 06:29 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Antonius Block - 04-15-2010, 06:59 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-15-2010, 07:42 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Anastasia - 04-15-2010, 08:47 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Antonius Block - 04-15-2010, 08:56 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Antonius Block - 04-15-2010, 08:58 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-15-2010, 10:55 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-16-2010, 12:26 AM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-16-2010, 12:59 AM
Re: Peter Singer - by Historian - 04-16-2010, 09:10 AM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-16-2010, 06:21 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Benno - 04-23-2010, 05:20 AM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-23-2010, 11:25 AM

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