Peter Singer is often described as the world's most influential philosopher. He is also one of its most controversial. The author of important books such as Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, Rethinking Life and Death, and The Life You Can Save, he helped launch the animal rights and effective altruism movements and contributed to the development of bioethics.
Now, in Ethics in the Real World, Singer shows that he is also a master at dissecting important current events in a few hundred words.
In this book of brief essays, he applies his controversial ways of thinking to issues like climate change, extreme poverty, animals, abortion, euthanasia, human genetic selection, sports doping, the sale of kidneys, the ethics of high-priced art, and ways of increasing happiness. Singer asks whether chimpanzees are people, smoking should be outlawed, or consensual sex between adult siblings should be decriminalized, and he reiterates his case against the idea that all human life is sacred, applying his arguments to some recent cases in the news.
In addition, he explores, in an easily accessible form, some of the deepest philosophical questions, such as whether anything really matters and what is the value of the pale blue dot that is our planet. The collection also includes some more personal reflections, like Singer's thoughts on one of his favourite activities, surfing, and an unusual suggestion for starting a family conversation over a holiday feast.
Provocative and original, these essays will challenge - and possibly change - your beliefs about a wide range of real-world ethical questions.
"Peter Singer might well be the most important philosopher alive. He is certainly one of the most enjoyable to read, and it's a joy to browse through this collection of his smart short essays. This is public philosophy at its best - clear, controversial, and deeply rational." (Paul Bloom, author of Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil)
"An accessible introduction to the work of a philosopher who would not regard being described as 'accessible' as an insult.... Despite their brevity, the essays do not shirk the big moral questions." (Economist)
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