• Princeton University
    Princeton University
  • Racial prejudice
    Racial prejudice
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Peter Singer is a well-known philosopher, ethicist and utilitarian who is famous for fathering the “animal liberation” movement. The controversy related to Singer’s work is that as a practical ethicist, his proffered logic argues that, for example, “killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.”[1] A North American disability rights group representative elaborated on this by arguing that, “given the prestige of his position, Singer gives legitimacy not only to eugenics views, but also to the related and commonly held view that life with a disability is a fate worse than death.” As such, the group, called Not Dead Yet, organized a petition to have Singer fired, arguing that his views “both devalue the lives of people with disabilities and advocate public policies that would end those lives through denial of health care.”[2]  Responding to the allegations against him, Singer has argued that “I don’t want my health insurance premiums to be higher so that infants who can experience zero quality of life can have expensive treatments.”[3]

[1] Gensler, H. (Oct. 8 ,1999). Peter Singer – moral hero or Nazi? Times Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/books/peter-singer-moral-hero-or-nazi/157567.article

[2] Kavanagh, P. (Sept. 13, 2015). Are Peter Singer’s ideas too dangerous to hear? The Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2015/09/13/are-peter-singers-ideas-too-dangerous-to-hear.html

[3] Chasmer, J. (June 16, 2015). Princeton bioethics professor faces calls for resignation over infanticide support. Washington Times. Retrieved from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/16/peter-singer-princeton-bioethics-professor-faces-c/

Associated Organizations:

The Life You Can Save (co-founder); The Great Ape Project (co-founder and Chair); American Philosophical Association; Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Oxfam

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Departmental Contact

Prof. Melissa Lane, Director of the University Center for Human Values

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