- All Best Essays, Term Papers and Book Report

A Journey into the Life of Peter Singer

Essay by   •  April 5, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,724 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,780 Views

Essay Preview: A Journey into the Life of Peter Singer

Report this essay
Page 1 of 7

"All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals" (Brainy). Australian Bioethics philosopher Peter Singer has touched on various controversial topics ranging from abortion, religious views, infanticide, and also animal rights. Specifically in Animal rights and its ethics, Singer discusses how animals and their ability to feel pain and pleasure puts them on a equally balanced moral status as us humans. He plays a major role in today's Animal Rights movement, influencing hundreds of thousands to become vegetarians. He is a leader in the field of bioethics and his studies evolve around the ideas of utilitarianism; how the consequences of an action is what defines it, rather than it being focused on the intention or motivation behind it. Singer, like no other philosopher challenges the barriers or morality in hoping to eliminate the suffering of both humans, and animals.

Peter Singer professor of both philosophy and bioethics has made numerous contributions in both fields of his work. It is said that "Singer's most important contributions have been in practical ethics. He helped establish the applied ethics movement in which philosophers turned their analytical and argumentive skills toward matters of moral significance and public interest" (Nobis 3). In establishing himself in society, he was very much known to be a philosopher but very little people know that he is also an activist. He believes that when there are things that he sees seriously wrong in society, he himself will go out and try to do whatever it takes to at least make a statement and confront the issue ("Peter..." 9). As an example of the actions he would take upon issues, "He lobbied governments and interest groups and participated in many demonstrations and protests that highlighted wrongful practices. To demonstrate the plight of battery hens, he sat in oversized cages on city squares, led peaceful marches, and held vigil in front of factory farms and fur shops" ("Peter..." 9). This shows just how dedicated and strong Singer was in getting his point across against society. He stood up not only for his beliefs, but also, for others that supported him and that followed.

In addition to those that were skeptic to his actions and thoughts, Singer later on endured another battle from those who opposed his utilitarian views. They were all in confusion of him being "'Saintly or Satanic?'" ("Peter..." 10). The contrast of his writing on the equality treatment of animals in society, and his writing in the field of bioethics, is what brought this question about. It is stated, "Because he believed that species is not a morally relevant boundary and that the like interests of all beings deserve equal moral consideration, Singer consistently condemned cruel treatment of animals while supporting destructive experimentation on early human in vitro embryos" ("Peter..." 10). With these views, Singer brought confusion to society, and they did not know the explanation for why he cared for the lives of animals so much while at the same time being apathetic towards newly born human life. In addressing this confusion, it was said that, "The morally relevant difference, Singer argued, is that animals have interests because they can suffer; early human embryos, on the other hand, are nonsentient beings, cannot suffer, and hence have no interests" ( "Peter..." 10). In reply to this issue, Singer proved to stick up for the controversial topic of animal life and how it differs from that of the early human embryo. It can be claimed that from the early stages of his career, Singer had many people who were against his ways of thinking, but like most great philosophers, he shows through his actions, research, and writing that he has made his way through it all and to this day has grown to become one of the greatest thinkers of his time.

Starting off, Singer never really knew much on animals but, "Like most people, I disapproved of cruelty to animals, but I was not greatly concerned about it" (Writings 293). He did not quite know a lot about what it all had behind it until his friend Richard Keshen had a conversation with him during a lunch period explaining to him about animal cruelty in factories and the reasons for him being a vegetarian. Singer states, " What Richard Keshen told me about the treatment of farm animals, combined with his arguments against our neglect of the interest of animals, gave me a lot to think about, but I was not about to change my diet overnight" (Writings 294). This conversation is what started Singer off into finding more about understanding the morality and ethics that animals and factory farming had behind it. He was then influenced to go against societies' views on the maltreatment of animals when he, "encountered a group of people who were vegetarians not because of any personal distaste, but because



Download as:   txt (9.7 Kb)   pdf (116.7 Kb)   docx (12.4 Kb)  
Continue for 6 more pages »
Only available on