|Values, philosophy: contrary to the notion of economic value, the philosophical concept of value is concerned with the attribution of properties and the characterization of concrete or idealized situations with regard to whether their realization is to be achieved. This is so, because a value can be identified in connection with these situations. See also norms, principles, ethics, morality, utility._____________Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments. |
Peter Singer on Values - Dictionary of Arguments
Values/Death/Killing/Utilitarianism/P. Singer: Assuming we could fix pain and pleasure as objective values, then we have another problem: there are two ways of reducing pleasure in the world, for example:
a) Eliminating the pleasure out of a being's life
b) To end the life of this being.
This means that we cannot automatically move from the higher rating of a pleasant life over a less pleasant one to a higher rating of a pleasant life over the alternative that is not a life. Reason: when we are dead, we do not miss the pleasurable.
Utilitarianism: when it comes to the multiplication of pleasure in the world, why should we not have more and more children and breed more and more animals that have a pleasant life? This is what I call the "total view".
Vs: one could object that the life of the now existing beings would be restricted for this. And the beings who have not yet been born do not exist and therefore cannot suffer or do without anything.
VsVs: on the other hand, one could assume a "prior existence" from the future beings. This means that our current decisions refer to beings that do not yet exist.
Problem: in this case, one has to deal with asymmetry when deciding, for example, whether a child who is likely to suffer extremely badly and will soon die should be born.
Problem: both perspectives, the "overall view" and the "pre-existence" viewpoint lead to contra-intuitive consequences.
Values/Consciousness/knowledge/animals/Singer, P.: are there values beyond the reach of knowing beings?
Intrinsic value: is a value that is desirable in itself, as opposed to a value that something receives as a means to something else. For example, luck is an intrinsic value, money is not.
Environmental destruction/Singer, P.: If a valley is now destroyed by dam construction, one must not only consider the fate of the knowing creatures, but also the fates of the other species, most of which will die.
Utilitarianism: will in this case include the fact that the animals that would have lived there would have done so for hundreds of years to come.
Ethics/Singer, P.: how far can it be extended beyond the realm of knowing beings? The ethical position I have developed in this book (P. Singer, Practical Ethics, Cambridge, 2011) is limited to knowing beings.
It is difficult to extend ethics beyond this area.
Problem: the concept of interest is missing when it comes to weighing up.
Another problem: without the concept of knowledge, the boundary between animate and inanimate nature is more difficult to defend.
Solving/Albert Schweitzer/Singer, P.:
Life/Law/Consciousness/Schweitzer: the most immediate fact of consciousness is: I am life that wants to live and I want to exist in the midst of life that wants to live... and this extends to all life in my environment, even if it cannot express itself. (A. Schweitzer, Civilization and Ethics (Part II, The Philosophy of Civilization, London, 1929, pp. 246-7.).
P. SingerVsSchweitzer: his language is misleading when he speaks of all forms of life without exception and ascribes them longing, desire, enthusiasm, pleasure and terror.
Plants cannot feel any of this.
Holmes RolstonVsSinger, P.: If natural selection has given an organism the traits it needs to strive for its survival, then this organism is able to evaluate something on the basis of these traits. (H. Rolston, Respect for Life: Counting what Singer Finds of no Account, in: Dale Jamieson (ed.), Singer and Critics, (Oxford, 1999) pp. 247-268.)
P. SingerVsRolston: he does not explain why natural selection makes it possible to evaluate organisms, but not human design and creation. Should we say that solar cells, which automatically adjust to the sun, add value to the sun?
Life without Consciousness/Singer, P.: there is no reason to pay more respect to the physical processes that dominate animated things than to the physical processes that dominate inanimate things. If that is the case, at least it is not obvious why we should have more respect for a tree than for a stalactite._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Practical Ethics (Third Edition) Cambridge 2011
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. New Haven 2015