He is strong in his convictions about the utilitarian ethics. He argues, “As far as my underlying ethical views are concerned, some of my friends and colleagues will no doubt be distressed to find the countless hours spent discussing these matters with me that have served only to reinforce my conviction, that consequentialist approach to ethics….is fundamentally sound” (x). The society impacted by the materialist civilization, industrial and internet revolutions is, to some extent, responsible for the present day maladies afflicting the society, according to him and the basic values of humankind have gone haywire. Peter Singer’s concept of utilitarianism ensures the individual right and freedom to come to own conclusions, and he advises all not to be follow-the-leader type individuals. He writes, “We have to reach our own decision. The beliefs and customs we were brought up with may exercise great influence on us, but once we start to reflect upon them we can decide whether to act in accordance with them or to go against them” (6). His intended audience is the political leadership, economists, scientists, sociologists, intellectuals and who's who of the society. Animal Rights: Peter Singer is the strong supporter of animal rights. From the scientific viewpoint, he relies on speculative conclusions and absolute assumptions. He is against animal experimentation and argues for banning it totally. His arguments have something to do with his personal convictions and emotional repugnance of the whole exercise of torturing and killing animals. He equates the utility of human beings with that of animals and as such humans have no right to exercise control on the life of animals. He terms this distinction as “speceisism” and that is as bad as the practice of racism and sexism. He states that all animals feel pain and inflicting deliberate pain on them is an illegitimate action. Peter Singer clinches the issue by highlighting the physical responses of the animals when at the receiving end of the pain, including chemical and physiological responses to pain receptors. That animal cannot reason or talk is no issue for Singer. The point is it suffers. Singer’s argument is based on the solid grounds of scientific approach and it has the element of unassailable logic. He argues that some of the animals are more intelligent than the human babies and/or mentally retarded. Ethical considerations demand that such animals need to be excluded from biomedical research. Moreover, the onus of proving that the benefits of research are in tandem with the suffering and pain imposed on the animals, vests with the scientists. Will those conducting such experiments take that responsibility? Whether similar experiments will be conducted on human infants to decide the ethical status of the relative experiments? Singer’s argument is based on the premises that animals and humans have equal rights. But the critics of Singer stick to their basic stand that animals are not members of the moral community and it is the duty of all concerned to act in the manner that is supportive to the moral duties for the benefit of humankind. Peter Singer is a compulsive controversy creator. Controversy and finding its solution are like alternative beats of the same heart to him. He is the greatest defender of animal rights and equates their right to exist with that right of human beings. His ideal is nothing short of
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Subject: Term Paper, Philosophy Date: Topic: Singer’s Practical Ethics Introduction: Utilitarianism According to utilitarianism principles, the right course of action in any situation is the one that produces the best balance of good over bad consequences for all those affected by the action…
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