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Is Peter Singer Moving Towards Objective Morality?


Singer has previously argued that some animals have more rights than some human beings because of a lack of belief in objective morality. But now he comments that he ‘regrets’ he doesn’t believe in God and that his position is in a ‘state of flux’ because of ethical problems related to environental degradation. A Darwinian approach involving ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking doesn’t give us strong reasons to care for other species or maintain ecosystems and biodiversity as a whole.  He seems to accept that only faith in a creator can properly ground objective morality.  Vernon writes that “…he is leaning towards accepting moral objectivity because he now rejects Hume’s view that practical reasoning is always subject to desire.” And comments that “only faith in a good God finally secures the conviction that living morally coincides with living well.”

Tim Mulgan, professor of moral and political philosophy at the University of St Andrews also offered some interesting comments. According to Vernon, he explained “why ethical objectivism may be vital to making a robust ethical case against environmental degradation.” This is because “Only a doctrine of creation can affirm that we are fundamentally linked to the natural order manifest on Earth. The fantasy of fleeing this planet, or disappearing into virtual reality, won’t actually do. Our island home matters because the lives of human beings go well only when her natural systems go well too. Or, as the psalmist intuited many centuries ago: “Truth shall spring out of the earth.”

I also understand that he is Jewish and his parents were holocaust survivors? Of course, given natural selection, survival of the fittest, tooth and claw evolution, and a godless universe, there could be nothing objectively morally wrong with putting people in gas chambers. __Especially__ if you are a utilitarian philosopher. NZer
Why did Peter Singer spend money in his mother's Alzheimer's disease treatment??? Enezio E. De Almeida Filho
Interesting. . . Even if Prof. Singer doesn't follow this line of reasoning all the way through to it's proper conclusion (the one CY listed above) he is sure to ruffle more than a few feathers by his consideration of it. I'm very interested to see how this plays out. MedsRex
God created the Earth and its many wonderful creatures. Thus, if we love God, we should care for them. Pretty simple, really. CannuckianYankee

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