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For thirty years, Peter Singer's Practical Ethics has been the classic introduction to applied ethics. For this third edition, the author has revised and updated all the chapters, and added a new chapter addressing climate change, one of the most important ethical challenges of our generation. Some of the questions discussed in this book concern our daily lives. Is it ethical to buy luxuries when others do not have enough to eat? Should we buy meat from intensively reared animals? Am I doing something wrong if my carbon footprint is above the global average? Other questions confront us as concerned citizens: equality and discrimination on the grounds of race or sex; abortion, the use of embryos for research, and euthanasia; political violence and terrorism; and the preservation of our planet's environment. This book's lucid style and provocative arguments make it an ideal text for university courses and for anyone willing to think about how she or he ought to live.
it is always wrong to take human life, for this would imply absolute pacifism, and there are many supporters of the sanctity of human life who concede that we may kill in self-defence and some who support capital punishment. We may take the doctrine of the sanctity of human life as simply a way of saying that human life has some very special value, a value quite distinct from the value of the lives of other living things. The view that human life has unique value is deeply rooted in our society
of preferring their own future existence to non-existence. (Again, remember that we are here considering what is What’s Wrong with Killing? 81 especially wrong about killing a person; I am not saying that there are never any preference utilitarian reasons against killing sentient beings that are not persons. We shall return to this question shortly.) Does a Person Have a Right to Life? Although preference utilitarianism does provide a direct reason for not killing a person, some may find the
by the plow. Harvesting crops removes the ground cover in which small animals shelter, making it possible for predators to kill them. Steven 122 Practical Ethics Davis, an animal scientist at Oregon State University, has claimed that the number of animals killed by growing crops is greater than the number killed by rearing beef cattle on pasture, even including the deaths of the cattle. His findings have been used by other defenders of meat-eating, including Michael Pollan. Davis has,
Switzerland a physician could prescribe lethal drugs to patients seeking aid in dying. Thirty years on, voluntary euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide is legal in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the American states of Oregon, Washington and Montana. Before we consider the justifiability of these practices, some terminological clarification will be helpful. 155 156 Practical Ethics forms of aid in dying Like abortion, providing aid in dying is highly
infant’s life will depend on which view we choose. Nevertheless, the main point remains clear, even after the various objections and complications have been considered: killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all. Other Nonvoluntary Life and Death Decisions In the preceding section, we discussed justifiable killing of beings who have never been capable of choosing to live or die. Ending a life without consent may also be considered