Hear This Idea
Hear This Idea
Dec 7, 2020
#19 – Peter Singer on Speciesism, Lockdown Ethics, and Controversial Ideas
Play • 59 min

Peter Singer is a moral philosopher and public intellectual, most widely known for his writings about animal ethics and global poverty.

In this episode we discuss:

  • [00:00:00] Introduction
  • [00:01:43] Background — Peter Singer introduces himself.
  • [00:02:16] Speciesism — Defining the term, and explaining the case against speciesism.
  • [00:06:55] Wild Animal Suffering — hould we intervene to reduce suffering in nature?
  • [00:09:00] Weighing and Ending Animal Lives — Are all animal lives equal? What, if anything, is wrong with (painlessly) killing animals?
  • [00:13:20] Ignoring Animals: Why did thinkers of the past apparently neglect the moral worth of animals? Why is animal ethics relatively new?
  • [00:16:50] History of Western Attitudes to Animals—Can we trace the origins of contemporary attitudes to animals back to ancient Greece and Judeo-Christian values?
  • [00:21:07] Counterfactual Impact of Animal Advocacy
  • [00:24:10] The Power of Moral Argument
  • [00:25:00] The Schwitzgebel Study
  • [00:29:30] What should we do now? — Are veganism and vegetarianism all-or-nothing decisions? Or is it worth choosing a more incremental pathway?
  • [00:32:25] The case for Human Challenge Trials
  • [00:35:46] Trade-off between Lives and Well-being in Lockdowns — Can the cure for the pandemic be worse than the disease? How would we know?
  • [00:42:07] Moral Realism — Parfit's 'Future Tuesday Indifference'
  • [00:46:10] Other Moral Systems — What about egalitarianism or prioritarianism?
  • [00:49:10] Controversial ideas
  • [00:52:28] Journal of Controversial Ideas
  • [00:54:35] What have you changed your mind about?
  • [00:55:57] Book Recommendations
  • [00:57:18] Where to Find PS Online

You can read much more on these topics in our accompanying write-up: https://hearthisidea.com/episodes/peter.

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