Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Peter Singer on Contract Theory - Dictionary of Arguments

I 63
Justification/Ethics/contract/P. Singer: a justification of ethics on the basis of closed contracts brings problems: not only animals but also disadvantaged people are excluded then. The same applies to small children.
Interest: a precondition for entering into contracts is self-interest. Another problem arises from this: if we have no compensation to expect, why should we commit ourselves to leaving behind a better environment for future generations, or to do something that will make their lives better?
Ethics/P. Singer: This shows that our current ethics go beyond these considerations of reciprocity.
Contract theory/P. Singer: therefore, some people argue that we should add to the moral community all those who have the possibility of a reciprocal agreement, or will have one day...
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I 64
...regardless of when they'll ever have it.
P. SingerVsContract: What are the reasons we have at all for limiting morality to those who are, in principle at least, in a position to conclude contracts? We should rather study which beings should be included in morality on the basis of universalization or generalization.
Darwin undermined the notion that humans and animals are completely different.
Animals/Bentham/P. Singer: Bentham pointed out that the fact that animals do not speak any language is no reason to ignore their suffering.
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I 65
Animal/P. Singer: In the tradition, animals have been described as living beings who live only in the moment and therefore cannot be aware of themselves. As a result, they have been exempted from considerations relating to something that could be against their interests.
Utilitarianism: if one wanted to look at the living beings as inherently higher-valued, one would move away from the utilitarianism ((s) represented here).
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I 66
Self-confidence/self-awareness/ethics/P. Singer: If it is not about the question of life or non-life, the question of whether the interests of non-self-conscious living beings are of minor importance is a little different. In this case, however, it is not clear why we should bring the question of self-consciousness into play at all.
Human/Animal/P. Singer: If we were to discuss such questions at all, we would come close to the question of whether mentally handicapped people should not be counted as animals, what we do not want.


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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 [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

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

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


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-07-27
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