Difference between revisions of "Peter Singer"

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'''Peter Singer''' is an Australian moral philosopher. He is perhaps the most famous contemporary [[wikipedia:utilitarianism|utilitarian]] ethicist. His 1975 book ''[[wikipedia:Animal Liberation (book)|Animal Liberation]]'' is sometimes cited as the beginning of the modern animal advocacy movement. He is also known for [[wikipedia:Famine, Affluence, and Morality|''Famine, Affluence, and Morality'']], which argued that there is a strong ethical obligation to donate money to those who are less well-off, and influenced the development of the [[effective altruism]] movement. His more controversial views include arguing that parents should have a right to euthanize their severely disabled infants.
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[[File:Singer1.jpg|thumb|200px|Peter Singer]]
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'''Peter Singer''' is an Australian moral philosopher.<ref>[https://www.britannica.com/biography/Peter-Singer Peter Singer | Australian philosopher | Britannica]</ref> He is perhaps the most famous contemporary [[utilitarian]] ethicist. His 1975 book ''[[wikipedia:Animal Liberation (book)|Animal Liberation]]'' is sometimes cited as the beginning of the modern animal advocacy movement. He is also known for his essay [[wikipedia:Famine, Affluence, and Morality|''Famine, Affluence, and Morality'']], which argued that there is a strong ethical obligation to donate money to help those who are less well-off, and influenced the development of the [[effective altruism]] movement. His more controversial views include arguing that parents should have a right to euthanize their severely disabled infants.
  
 
Human enhancement advocate [[Julian Savulescu]] is one of Singer's former PhD students.<ref>[http://www.neuroethics.ox.ac.uk/our_members/julian_savulescu The Oxford Centre for Neuroethics — Julian Savulescu]</ref>
 
Human enhancement advocate [[Julian Savulescu]] is one of Singer's former PhD students.<ref>[http://www.neuroethics.ox.ac.uk/our_members/julian_savulescu The Oxford Centre for Neuroethics — Julian Savulescu]</ref>
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== Futurist views ==
 
== Futurist views ==
  
Singer has discussed [[Nick Bostrom]]'s argument for the overwhelming importance of reducing [[existential risk]],<ref>"Doing the Most Good: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically"</ref><ref>[http://effective-altruism.com/ea/50/preventing_human_extinction/ Preventing human extinction] (Co-authored with [[Nick Beckstead]] and Matt Wage)</ref><ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh8nFrp9FFI Peter Singer - Extinction Risk & Effective Altruism]</ref><ref>[https://www.vox.com/2015/6/18/8802755/peter-singer The world's most famous utilitarian on whether all carnivorous animals should be killed]</ref> and is an advisor to the [[Centre for the Study of Existential Risk]],<ref>[http://cser.org/about/who-we-are/ Who We Are | CSER]</ref> although he has exercised discretion as he believes few are likely to be convinced.<ref>[http://www.whatisitliketobeaphilosopher.com/peter-singer/ What Is It Like to Be a Philosopher? Peter Singer]</ref> He believes that the interests of [[sentience|sentient]] machines should be taken into consideration,<ref>[https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/dec/14/rage-against-machines-robots When robots have feelings]</ref> and that we should be doing more to ensure that [[Friendly AI|advanced artificial intelligence will be ethical]].<ref>[https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/can-artificial-intelligence-be-ethical-by-peter-singer-2016-04 Can Artificial Intelligence Be Ethical?]</ref>
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Singer believes that it is wrong to [[discounting|discount]] the value of future lives, except for the uncertainty of whether they will exist.<ref name="jpe">[http://www.jpe.ox.ac.uk/papers/twenty-questions/ Twenty Questions for Peter Singer]</ref> He has discussed [[Nick Bostrom]]'s argument for the overwhelming importance of reducing [[existential risk]],<ref>"Doing the Most Good: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically"</ref><ref>[http://effective-altruism.com/ea/50/preventing_human_extinction/ Preventing human extinction] (Co-authored with [[Nick Beckstead]] and Matt Wage)</ref><ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh8nFrp9FFI Peter Singer - Extinction Risk & Effective Altruism]</ref><ref>[https://www.vox.com/2015/6/18/8802755/peter-singer The world's most famous utilitarian on whether all carnivorous animals should be killed]</ref> and is an advisor to the [[Centre for the Study of Existential Risk]],<ref>[http://cser.org/about/who-we-are/ Who We Are | CSER]</ref> although he has exercised discretion when speaking publicly as he believes few are likely to be convinced.<ref>[http://www.whatisitliketobeaphilosopher.com/peter-singer/ What Is It Like to Be a Philosopher? Peter Singer]</ref><ref name="jpe" />
  
In the early 1990s, Singer wrote an article outlining some possible objections to [[radical life extension]] from a total utilitarian perspective.<ref>Research into aging: should it be guided by the interests of present individuals, future individuals, or the species? In: Ludwig FC, ed. ''Life span extension: consequences and open questions''. New York: Spencer Publishing  Company, 1991:132–45.</ref> [[Mark Alan Walker]] has responded, providing some utilitarian arguments in favor of life extension,<ref>[http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048400701654846 Superlongevity and Utilitarianism]</ref> while [[Russell Blackford]] has argued that moral pluralist approach (rather than total utility view) can avoid the problems raised by Singer.<ref>[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19948931 Moral pluralism versus the total view: why Singer is wrong about radical life extension.]</ref> More recently, Singer seems to have been persuaded by [[Aubrey de Grey]] that life extension research should be a medical priority.<ref>[https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-ethics-of-anti-aging-by-peter-singer Should We Live to 1,000?]</ref>
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Singer believes that we should be doing more to ensure that [[Friendly AI|advanced artificial intelligence will be ethical]].<ref>[https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/can-artificial-intelligence-be-ethical-by-peter-singer-2016-04 Can Artificial Intelligence Be Ethical?]</ref> As a utilitarian concerned with the well-being of all creatures, he also believes that the interests of [[sentience|sentient]] machines ought to be taken into consideration.<ref>[https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/dec/14/rage-against-machines-robots When robots have feelings]</ref>
  
Singer supports the [[abolitionism|abolition of suffering]] through technology and is interested in the prospect of [[moral enhancement]].<ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhovbMe7nOo Peter Singer - Suffering & Progress in Ethics (Past & Future)]</ref>. He discussed abolitionism and genetic engineering with [[David Pearce]].<ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkyOmY74mKY Utilitarianism, Bliss & Suffering - Peter Singer & David Pearce]</ref>
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In the early 1990s, Singer wrote an article outlining some possible objections to [[radical life extension]] from a total utilitarian perspective.<ref>Research into aging: should it be guided by the interests of present individuals, future individuals, or the species? In: Ludwig FC, ed. ''Life span extension: consequences and open questions''. New York: Spencer Publishing  Company, 1991:132–45.</ref> [[Mark Alan Walker]] has responded, providing some utilitarian counterarguments in favor of life extension,<ref>[http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048400701654846 Superlongevity and Utilitarianism]</ref> while [[Russell Blackford]] has argued that moral pluralist approach (rather than total utility view) can avoid the problems raised by Singer.<ref>[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19948931 Moral pluralism versus the total view: why Singer is wrong about radical life extension.]</ref><ref>[http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2009/12/on-singer-and-radical-life-extension.html On Singer and radical life extension]</ref> More recently, Singer seems to have been persuaded by [[Aubrey de Grey]] that life extension research should be a medical priority.<ref>[https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-ethics-of-anti-aging-by-peter-singer Should We Live to 1,000?]</ref>
  
== References ==
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Singer supports the [[abolitionism|abolition of suffering]] through technology and is interested in the prospect of [[moral enhancement]].<ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhovbMe7nOo Peter Singer - Suffering & Progress in Ethics (Past & Future)]</ref> As a utilitarian, he does not have any fundamental objections to human bioenhancement, and thinks it could be a very positive thing, assuming the consequences for global well-being are positive.<ref name="jpe"/> He discussed abolitionism and genetic engineering with [[David Pearce]].<ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkyOmY74mKY Utilitarianism, Bliss & Suffering - Peter Singer & David Pearce]</ref>
{{reflist}}
 
  
 
== External links ==
 
== External links ==
 
* {{wikipedia|Peter Singer}}
 
* {{wikipedia|Peter Singer}}
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== References ==
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{{reflist}}
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[[Category:Futurists]]
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[[Category:Bioethicists]]
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[[Category:Abolitionists]]
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[[Category:Effective altruism]]

Latest revision as of 20:59, 11 December 2021

Peter Singer

Peter Singer is an Australian moral philosopher.[1] He is perhaps the most famous contemporary utilitarian ethicist. His 1975 book Animal Liberation is sometimes cited as the beginning of the modern animal advocacy movement. He is also known for his essay Famine, Affluence, and Morality, which argued that there is a strong ethical obligation to donate money to help those who are less well-off, and influenced the development of the effective altruism movement. His more controversial views include arguing that parents should have a right to euthanize their severely disabled infants.

Human enhancement advocate Julian Savulescu is one of Singer's former PhD students.[2]

Futurist views

Singer believes that it is wrong to discount the value of future lives, except for the uncertainty of whether they will exist.[3] He has discussed Nick Bostrom's argument for the overwhelming importance of reducing existential risk,[4][5][6][7] and is an advisor to the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk,[8] although he has exercised discretion when speaking publicly as he believes few are likely to be convinced.[9][3]

Singer believes that we should be doing more to ensure that advanced artificial intelligence will be ethical.[10] As a utilitarian concerned with the well-being of all creatures, he also believes that the interests of sentient machines ought to be taken into consideration.[11]

In the early 1990s, Singer wrote an article outlining some possible objections to radical life extension from a total utilitarian perspective.[12] Mark Alan Walker has responded, providing some utilitarian counterarguments in favor of life extension,[13] while Russell Blackford has argued that moral pluralist approach (rather than total utility view) can avoid the problems raised by Singer.[14][15] More recently, Singer seems to have been persuaded by Aubrey de Grey that life extension research should be a medical priority.[16]

Singer supports the abolition of suffering through technology and is interested in the prospect of moral enhancement.[17] As a utilitarian, he does not have any fundamental objections to human bioenhancement, and thinks it could be a very positive thing, assuming the consequences for global well-being are positive.[3] He discussed abolitionism and genetic engineering with David Pearce.[18]

External links

References