By Robert McDaniel
Internationally known author and bioethicist Peter Singer will speak on “Ethics and Animals: Extending Ethics Beyond Our Own Species” on Sept. 9 at the Ferrell Auditorium in the Combs Building. Singer, founder of the modern animal rights movement and Ira W. DeCamp, professor of bioethics at Princeton University, will deliver a lecture on his controversial views on animal rights and ethics.
Singer, an Australian born philosopher, went to Melbourne University, where he studied law, history and philosophy. He then went on to a scholarship at University College in Oxford. He was Radcliffe Lecturer at University College, Oxford from 1971 to 1973, during which time he worked on a thesis under R.M. Hare on civil disobedience.
Singer was the founding president of the International Association of Bioethics and the founding co-editor of the journal Bioethics.
He is the co-founder and president of The Great Ape Project, an international effort to obtain basic rights for chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. He is also president of Animal Rights International.
Singer, is best known for his 1975 publication “Animal Liberation.” In it, he argues that although humans have a long history of mistreating or abusing animals, there is no moral justification for such behavior. Some of Singer’s books include “Democracy and Disobedience,” “Animal Factories,” “Should the Baby Live?,” “Practical Ethics,” “The Expanding Circle” and “Marx”. Singer has also appeared in a 2006 BBC documentary called “Monkeys, Rats and Me: Animal Testing,” and is the author of the major article on ethics in the current edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Singer’s philosophical interests are not only limited to the theories of politics and ethics, but also more practical problems like abortion, euthanasia, and the treatment of animals.
Singer is expected to discuss his controversial view that “the greatest good for the greatest number” is the only measure of ethical behavior, and that this idea of measuring ethical behavior should apply to humans and animals as well.
Singer is also expected to discuss topics such as his popularized term “speciesism”, which falls into the same category as racism or sexism.
Singer’s visit will include dinner from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room in the Keen Johnson Building, followed by his Chautauqua Lecture from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Ferrell Auditorium in the Combs Building. Immediately after the lecture, Singer will remain in the Ferrell Auditorium to sign books.