Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Peter Singer
I IX
Equality/Animal/Human/Equal rights/Ethics/P. Singer: thesis: my book Practical Ethics fights the attitude that all members of the human species would have higher-ranked rights solely because of their belonging to this species.
P. SingerVs: it would be unphilosophical to forbid any comparisons beyond a species. This is about injustice that we inflict on animals and the damage we do to our environment.
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I 16
Equality/ethics/P. Singer: what does it actually mean when we say that all people are equal?
Problem: the more we investigate individual cases, the more the belief in the universal validity of the principle of equality disappears. Example:
Intelligence/Jensen/Eysenk/P. Singer: (Debate in the 1970s between Arthur Jensen, psychologist UC Berkeley and Hans J├╝rgen Eysenk, psychology at the University of London):
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I 17
Question: to what extent do variances of intelligence depend on genetic differences?
This dispute was again taken up by Herrstein/Murray The Bell Curve, 1994.
Racism: the critics of these authors say their theses, if justified, would justify racial discrimination. Are they right?
Similar problem: was Larry Summers a sexist when he - at that time president of the Harvard University - claimed biological factors in connection with difficulties to appoint more women to chairs in mathematics and sciences?
Similar question: should disadvantaged groups receive special preferential treatment in access to jobs or to the university?
P. Singer: Differences between genders and differences between giftedness exist in any case.
Range property/John Rawls: (in Rawls, Theory of Justice) if one belongs to a domain, one simply has the property to belong to this domain and all within the domain have this property alike.
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I 18
Equality/Rawls/P. Singer: Rawl's thesis: a moral attitude is the basis for equality.
VsRawls: 1. One might object that this is a gradual matter.
2. Small children are not capable of having a moral personality.
Solution/Rawls: small children are potentially moral personalities.
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I 19
VsRawls: Rawls does not provide a solution for people with irreparable impairments.
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I 20
Suffer/Interest/Third person/P. Singer: Problem: we have to explain whether the pain of a certain person is less undesirable than that of another person.
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I 20
Interest/P. Singer: Principle: When it comes to equality, we should weigh interests as interests and not as interests of persons, as mine or someone else's interests. If then X loses more by an action than Y wins, the action should not be executed.
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I 21
Then the race plays no role anymore in the weighing of interests. This is the reason why the Nazis were wrong: their policy was based only on the interests of the Aryan race.

Sing I
Peter Singer
Practical Ethics (Third Edition) Cambridge 2011

Sing II
P. Singer
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. New Haven 2015


> Counter arguments against Singer
> Counter arguments in relation to Equality



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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-05-27