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1. How Are We to Live?: Ethics in
2. The Life You Can Save: Acting
3. Animal Liberation: The Definitive
4. In Defense of Animals: The Second
5. Writings on an Ethical Life
6. The Ethics of What We Eat: Why
7. Practical Ethics
8. Peter Singer Under Fire (Under
9. Ethics Into Action: Henry Spira
10. Practical Ethics
11. The Moral of the Story: An Anthology
12. Rethinking Life and Death: The
13. The Life You Can Save: How to
14. Ethics (Oxford Readers)
15. Pushing Time Away: My Grandfather
16. Pushing Time Away: My Grandfather
17. One World: The Ethics of Globalization,
18. Marx (A Brief Insight)
19. Refuting Peter Singer's Ethical
20. A Companion to Ethics (Blackwell

1. How Are We to Live?: Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest
by Peter Singer
Paperback: 262 Pages (1995-05)
list price: US$23.98 -- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 0879759666
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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B'Imagine that you could choose a book that everyone in the world would read. My choice would be this book.' Roger Crisp, Ethics Many people have an uneasy feeling that they may be missing out on something basic that would give their lives a significance it currently lacks. But how should we live? What is there to stop us behaving selfishly? In a highly readable account which makes reference to a wide variety of sources and everyday issues, Peter Singer suggests that the conventional pursuit of self-interest is individually and collectively self-defeating. Taking into consideration the beliefs of Jesus, Kant, Rousseau, and Adam Smith amongst others, he looks at a number of different cultures, including America, Japan, and the Aborigines to assess whether or not selfishness is in our genes and how we may find greater satisfaction in an ethical lifestyle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars How Are We to Live?Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest
The book overall was awesome.However, it took longer than expected to get the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-researched accessible ethics.
Unlike some of Peter Singer's other books, "How are we to live" is not a comprehensive opus on ethics, the history of ethics, or ethical systems. It is a book about the ethical dilemmas faced by modern self-interested Western society, and it is intended for a general audience rather than an academic one. I'm not a student or scholar of philosophy or ethics, yet I had no trouble understanding the content of this book, as such, I think it fulfils the author's aim of being accessible to lay readers.

Early in the book, Singer presents some fascinating historical analysis of tends related to individual greed in the 1980s leading into the 1990s. It is worth reading for the first few chapters alone, where this analysis is presented.

This book was published in the mid-1990s, and it shows substantial foresight. In later chapters, Singer talks about the need to take action to abate global warming and the greenhouse effect - a problem that is only now gaining the support of the general public.

Peter Singer is a well-known advocate of animal rights and vegetarianism. His position on these subjects pops up regularly throughout the book and his personal values on this issue are unmistakable. As an omnivore, I have to concede that he made some very good points about the impact of meat eating on the environment; and about the treatment of non-human animals - I have been cutting down on meat since I read this book.

I only have two reservations about the book. First, there is a chapter on Japanese society which does not seem to lead to any clear-cut point or conclusion that is related to the rest of the content of the book. Second, Singer's argument in the final chapter is that people who act ethically will lead happier lives, but the evidence he presents for this is scant. As it happens, I agree with him, that people who live outward-looking ethical lives will, more than likely, be happier people. As a philosophical speculation, it's an interesting one, and I think modern psychology is beginning to find the evidence to support this claim.

3-0 out of 5 stars ethically I guess
Singer is one of those perplexed individuals, myself included, who whilst endeavouring to lead a fair and meaningful life are struck by the increasing presence of those for whom material gain and peer recognition at any cost is the greatest motivator.

It pisses me off. These greedy guys seem to get all the gain while us nice guys get left behind. Isnt there a silver lining to our restraint?. Isnt there some benefit to accrue to us ethical guys?. Why does the selfish unethical corporate climber next door get the new Merc when I have to make do with the rusting Toyota?. What Singer rightly points out to us nice guys is that the happiness and meaningfullness we think we might get from the selfish model is not there, and that it is indeed found through other rewards in applying the ethical and unselfish model.
Singer explains the development of this view well, although I feel he relies too heavily on his own experiences rather than providing outside case histories, so to speak. Also some of his supporting examples are incorrect. The Alliance Party in New Zealand is a fizzer, and the single most significant contributor to the breakdown of ethical behaviour in New Zealand was the introduction of a State benefit for solo mothers. The family as a teacher of fundamental ethics was no longer required because the state shelled out to the mums thus allowing them to leave home and live there less than disciplined lives away from the watching eyes of mum and dad.
Also, what Singer doesnt say is that its not that the ethics is not there in many of those selfish scallywags. Its just that the media has led them to believe that financial gain and recognition are now more important end results than the living of the ethical life. What the media has failed to let these types know though is that such a life carries long term costs such as personal depression, global resource depletion, divorce, disfunctional families, wars to name but a few.
The next big test is to see how we teach our children to believe that the very principles that Singer is touching on here are of a higher priority than the principles of selfishness and greed as promoted by the Corporate/capitalist model. Its this replacement of pride in living an ethical life with pride in material gain at any cost that I suspect has motivated Singer in part anyway, to write this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay
The book started out interesting, but after that, I don't think he has much to offer.It's like, he is telling you something you have already known.

5-0 out of 5 stars Every person on this planet should read this book!
An extremely important and relevant work from a highly intelligent,committed and ethical individual.Singer's clear and readable expounding of an enlightening yet surprisingly simple ethical outlookdefinitely has the potential to change, for the better, a readers approachboth to their own life and to their relationships to others, both human andnon-human.An absolute gem! ... Read more

2. The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty
by Peter Singer
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2009-03-03)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$11.67
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Asin: 1400067103
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This is the right time to ask yourself: “What should I be doing to help?”

For the first time in history, it is now within our reach to eradicate world poverty and the suffering it brings. Yet around the world, a billion people struggle to live each day on less than many of us pay for bottled water. And though the number of deaths attributable to poverty worldwide has fallen dramatically in the past half-century, nearly ten million children still die unnecessarily each year. The people of the developed world face a profound choice: If we are not to turn our backs on a fifth of the world’s population, we must become part of the solution.

In The Life You Can Save, philosopher Peter Singer, named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine, uses ethical arguments, provocative thought experiments, illuminating examples, and case studies of charitable giving to show that our current response to world poverty is not only insufficient but ethically indefensible.

Singer contends that we need to change our views of what is involved in living an ethical life. To help us play our part in bringing about that change, he offers a seven-point plan that mixes personal philanthropy (figuring how much to give and how best to give it), local activism (spreading the word in your community), and political awareness (contacting your representatives to ensure that your nation’s foreign aid is really directed to the world’s poorest people).

In The Life You Can Save, Singer makes the irrefutable argument that giving will make a huge difference in the lives of others, without diminishing the quality of our own. This book is an urgent call to action and a hopeful primer on the power of compassion, when mixed with rigorous investigation and careful reasoning, to lift others out of despair. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

1-0 out of 5 stars Naive but Noble Approach to a Complex Problem
I realize this sort of stuff appeals to the Christian-induced charity impulses in many of us, but stop and ask yourself: where does this poverty come from?

Personally, I'm not much for nursing wounds that aren't going to stop bleeding unless we address the real sources of the problem: primarily the runaway freight train economic ponzi scheme we live in.Take a gander at world systems theory for starters. [...]

Nothing against trying to help the poor, but there's a connection between your relative affluence and your country's economic head start, its political and militaristic hegemony, and its continuing business-driven foreign policy.Remember having to eat your broccoli because of the starving children in China?Granted there's still work to be done, but one of the primary reasons things have changed so dramatically in China is the economic growth there - and that's very much tied to China playing hardball with the economic powers that be, forcing foreign investment to enter as joint ventures, building key internal industries through protectionism, etc.The Congos and Nicaraguas of this world don't have the size, resources, or power to overcome the exploitative system the West has forced them into since Colonial times.

Booming economies in China and the Pacific Rim - Starvation in China is rapidly becoming a thing of the past - Stagnant job growth in USA and Europe.Get it?

Without some perspective on *why* such poverty exists, the underlying problem is not likely to go away.Granted you may still choose to give money to help the poor in the interim, but the issues go much deeper.Are we prepared to make the bigger sacrifices to really fix the problems?

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Into to Global Poverty and Charity
This book is a great introduction to the philosophical issues surrounding global poverty and charitable giving. It is a simple fact that when you choose to buy something for yourself, you're choosing not to use that money to help the world's sick and starving. Singer takes this uncomfortable fact and examines it from many different perspectives. I highly recommend you read this book, think seriously about the issues it raises, and talk about these issues (as tactfully as possible) to as many friends and family members as you can. You will, in the most literal sense possible, save lives.

4-0 out of 5 stars all proceeds to charity
This book has a lot of great information on how you can find a worthwhile organization to donate too. If you are into philosophy this book is a must as the author will challenge the way you think about charitable organizations. As my post title stated, the author donates the sales of his book to charity.

5-0 out of 5 stars How much is a human life worth?
The finale of the now classic movie "Schindler's List" features Liam Neeson portraying the much renowned industrialist Oskar Schnindler, credited with saving some 1,200 Jews from certain death during the Holocaust. In this scene, Schindler points at his car and says "this car, why did I keep the car? Ten people right there." He then grabs a pin from his coat, stares at it almost in horror, and says "Two people... this is gold... two more people." Breaking down, he pleads "I could have done more." One of the shocking aspects of this amazing scene is the valuing of material things in terms of human lives. It prompts a deeper question about how we value life, which evokes an even more disturbing question: how much would someone pay to save your life? Or even, what am I worth? It should come as no surprise that in our heavily monetized culture some government agencies have indeed made estimates on what you're worth. In chapter six of "the Life You Can Save," the philosopher Peter Singer quotes the 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency value of "a generic American life" as $7.22 million. The Department of Transportation estimated $5.8 million. One of the main themes running through Singer's book is that it actually doesn't cost the affluent much to save the the lives of people living in the world's poorest areas. The preface's first page dives right into this idea. Singer says outright that if you have a bottle of water or soda on a table beside you as you read his book, then you already have money to spend on things that you don't need. As his argument develops, it becomes clear that, given his premises, those things we buy that we don't need do translate into human lives that could be saved by the simple act of giving to a charity that works with the poorest of the poor. After discussing the countless people who die each year frompreventable diseases and conditions, he states: "we can reasonably believe that the cost of saving a life through one of these charities is somewhere between $200 and $2,000." Though Singer never explicitly connects the two, that can of soda from the preface, especially considering the average annual spending on soft drinks, begins to acquire a potentially sinister aura.

The implications of Singer's claims will shock many. Some will doubtlessly deny their cogency. At root level the book claims that spending money on things we don't need instead of supporting life saving charities is outright wrong. Even downright immoral. Of course, who would argue with this? Well, some people do, so chapter 3 gets dedicated to answering many common objections to charitable donating. Not only that, Singer provides figures that the U.S., in terms of Gross National Income (GNI), falls next to last (just above Greece) in overall giving (only 18 cents of every $100 earned in 2006). He then addresses the obvious follow-up question in chapter 4, aptly titled "Why Don't We Give More?" Human nature itself receives scrutiny, and Singer identifies human, all too human traits that may keep us from helping those that we don't know, including "the identifiable victim" (we don't tend to feel empathy for faceless statistics), futility (i.e., "the problems are just too big"), and the infamous "I'm not responsible" or "it's not my job" objection. He reacts to each one of these, and other objections, in turn. Other chapters build on his argument and skepticism about the effectiveness of aid, the tension between our duties to our family and to others, and just how much is too much? He cites Bill Clinton's objection that Singer, in a 2006 New York Times essay, asks too much when suggesting that people give 10% of their incomes to charity. Singer responds "is it really asking too much of people earning at least $383,000 to live on a pretax income of $352,100 instead?" Nonetheless, the final chapter revises Singer's initial 10% recommendation into a sliding scale with a new goal at least 5%, though he would like the rich to contribute far more. He claims that if all Americans did this we could potentially end global poverty. In an almost outright plea, he argues: "If you have an extra $450 and are thinking about whether to spend it on yourself or to use it to help others, it won't be easy to find anything that you need nearly as much as a fourteen-year old girl with a fistula needs an operation." Singer thoroughly describes the condition and social damage that an obstetric fistula causes. It's not pretty, but thankfully it's treatable. Singer invites us to make our own judgments and choices.

Not everyone will agree with Singer's argument in "The Life You Can Save." Nonetheless, he makes a pretty good case that many of us in affluent socities, particularly in the United States, simply don't give enough to causes that fight world poverty, such as Oxfam, UNICEF or Population Services International (which also deals with overpopulation issues). By implication, we allow deaths to occur that don't need to occur. Those who agree with him, will find plenty of guidance on where to donate. Websites such as GiveWell.org, orCharityNavigator.org provide some direction for those lost in the maze of potential charities. Singer also set up a website as a book tie-in, TheLifeYouCanSave.com, in which people can make a pledge to give more, or to continue their giving habits and to tell people you know about the book and its arguments. "The Life You Can Save" represents Singer's plea to those who can do something to actually do something. This short and often disturbing book makes a sound case that we can do something.

5-0 out of 5 stars Singer delivers significant, powerful, well-researched and documented message. Must read!
"The life you can save" will challenge your thinking about our moral obligations toward other human beings whether you are supportive of helping the poor, sick and dying or not. It has certainly left a big impression on me, although by being regular contributor to UNICEF, reader of other Singers works and vegetarian I am probably more familiar with and receptive of Singer's line of thinking than most.

In author's own words he has been thinking, debating and lecturing about the subject for 30 years, and it shows. Book is filled with scientific and statistical data, references and challenges to other philosophers, and examples of altruistic people. One reads it like a novel and never ever looses interest in learning new and interesting facts and explanations of logical arguments. For example, this was the first time I have ever heard of the problem of obstetric fistulas. Quoting from religious texts through contemporary works Singer builds an argument that living ethically means giving much more to the poor than most of us do.

Do you think you have a justifiable reason why you don't give more to the poor? Do you think you live an ethical life? Do you think Singer's message or logic is incorrect? Read this book and it will show you why you are wrong.
... Read more

3. Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement (P.S.)
by Peter Singer
Paperback: 368 Pages (2009-03-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$5.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061711306
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Since its original publication in 1975, this groundbreaking work has awakened millions of people to the existence of "speciesism"—our systematic disregard of nonhuman animals—inspiring a worldwide movement to transform our attitudes to animals and eliminate the cruelty we inflict on them.

In Animal Liberation, author Peter Singer exposes the chilling realities of today's "factory farms" and product-testing procedures—destroying the spurious justifications behind them, and offering alternatives to what has become a profound environmental and social as well as moral issue. An important and persuasive appeal to conscience, fairness, decency, and justice, it is essential reading for the supporter and the skeptic alike.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (104)

5-0 out of 5 stars A definitive read
This book is a requisite read for anyone with interest in animal rights/ethics.I began reading this book when I became a vegan.I started reading the 2nd. edition (1990) that a vegan friend gave to me, and decided to finish reading with the most updated/ 4th. edition (2009).This book is a great reference for ethics/philosophy.It also seems like the closest thing to what most of us will have to being a student of Peter Singer.

The information/data is detailed and precisely pertinent to the topics.The updated and supplemental information keeps the present-day reader connected to Peter Singer's legacy with the Animal Liberation movement.

The writing is at times difficult to fully comprehend on the first read.Peter Singer definitely authors on a university level that may prove to be intimidating for younger/ less experienced readers.

3-0 out of 5 stars Too Disturbing To Get To The End
Frankly, I had to throw this book away. I ordered it after reading about it in a New Yorker article about the senseless killing of songbirds for fun and food. I expected the book to be a philosophical take on the issue of animal cruelty, which has been something of a big concern for me for many years (pretty much since I become fully cognizant of the fact that poultry and beef didn't grow on trees, and that, in fact, poultry and meat were not some abstract substances, but, at some point, none other than living, breathing, conscious creatures.)

The book, however, offers a very detailed and extremely disturbing descriptions of various forms of physical and emotional suffering that billions of animals are subjected to in the course of their very short and very miserable lives. The author depicts the practices of the "personnel" (supposedly human) working in the food industry (its first link - the meat/dairy plants) and the scientific/laboratory research - which presentthe two most horrific forms of animal abuse. Speaking about the often used in a "cute" context term "guinea pigs," lab animals are put through unthinkable suffering varying from suffering the process of harsh chemicals being instilled in their eyes (rabbits) while they are restrained by special equipment that doesn't allow for any type of movement, as the "scientist" diligently observes and records the damage the chemical does to the eye over the course of several days (the end result - destroyed pupil of the eye.) And let's just leave it at that, it's the mildest of the experiments sited by the author. I was only able to go a few pages into the chapter before I had to put this book aside due to the palpitations I felt in my chest. I stopped at the "humorous" description in a catalog of the laboratory animal equipment that left me grasping for words: it mentioned a restrictor for rats where "the only thing that will wiggle is the nose." Next thing I did was throw the book away, especially that it also came with several disturbing photographs: I simply did not want to have this kind of "material" sitting in my book case.

That said, if someone has thicker skin or can skip through the chapters that deal with the "underbelly" of the food industry and scientific progress (although the author argues with the notion that experimenting on animals actually entails that much of a progress) and onto the chapters that deal with how each individual can contribute to reducing the amount of suffering, this book can be more than a useful read. It could also be a good eye opener for those who still think that animals feel no emotion and so "their suffering is pretty devoid of anything conscious," or that tender veal chops are too, well, tender to pass up on at a restaurant (hopefully their opinion will change after they find out what is done to baby calves before they become those tender delectables.) Animals do have the same pain receptors as humans, and they do feel fear and anxiety, and great psychological suffering.

4-0 out of 5 stars the standard (of sorts)
I read this book in high school and it, literally, changed my life. I immediately became a vegetarian. Any book that can lead someone to make such a drastic change (I still, on occasion, crave bacon!) is worthy of your time. For that reason alone, I give it a high rating. At the same time, I eventually found myself no longer impressed by the utilitarian arguments underwriting much of his philosophy, nor do I find such an account that consistent. That is, I need something more substantial than just this book. For what it is, it is a classic and deserving of your time. I think, however, you may move on to other writers for a different approach that may provide a stronger grounding (e.g., Stephen Clark, Stephen Webb, Tom Regan or Carol Adams). Nevertheless, this may be the place to begin!

5-0 out of 5 stars Batton change
I read this text over thirty years ago and it made quite an impression.Lucid and relying more on evidence than emotion, I was convinced that we owed sentient life forms more respect than I had previously thought.Now I have students who wrestle with the justifications for their claims to vegetarianism.Singer's seminal arguments are still valid.I bought this to pass on to one of my more idealistic charges.It may put meat on the bones of her posturing.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book made me a vegetarian
This book made me a vegetarian, because it made me aware of all the cruelty that is imposed on animals.Ethically, this is not justified by no means at all.If man is supposed to be the superior animal, then why should he treat animals as if they were "animal objects" ?(I would also like to recommend the new DVD Our Daily Bread so you can actually see how our soulless economy of food production is performing nowadays.)

Never before in human history have we eaten so much meat.Not only do the poor animals suffer in their cages, the people eating this "artificial" meat are suffering too, because a big load of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, etc. are delivered together with the "food".

Now, I didn't become a vegetarian immediately after reading this book, but its arguments percolated through my conscience and finally did me make the final step, eliminating meat altogether from my menu.This was 5 years ago.It is best to do this gradually.I would also recommend anybody willing to take this step to take a vitamin B12 supplement (under the form of complex B) to feel great, since vitamin B12 is only present in animal foods. ... Read more

4. In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave
Paperback: 264 Pages (2005-09-02)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$10.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1405119411
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave brings together the best current ethical thinking about animals. Edited by Peter Singer, who made "speciesism" an international issue in 1975 when he published Animal Liberation, this new book presents the state of the animal movement that his classic work helped to inspire.

Long hailed as a brilliant and controversial philosopher, Singer has assembled incisive new articles by philosophers and by activists. In Defense of Animals is sure to inform and inspire all who want to understand, or contribute to, the unfolding moral revolution in the way we treat animals. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A mind opener
The most brilliant book I have ever read. If you love animals and want to develop arguments for animal rights, this is a must have book. It does not deal with all the issues, but it does give explicit info on lab testing, farming, some activist wins, but overall it sets the mindframe of what human animals can do to live a more ethical life vis a vis their non-human counterparts. Mr. Singer is a gifted author and illuminated thinker. I strongly recommend it

1-0 out of 5 stars He's a welfarest
I whole heartily believe the only good thing Singer has done for animals is come up with the word Speciesism and define it. Other than that he is a Welfarest and I completely disagree with his approach to animal liberation.

I think if many of you who are considering reading this book you will have better spent your time gaining a clearer understanding of Animal Welfarism VS Animal Rights/ abolitionism. Look up Gary Francione and Bob/ Jenna Torres stance on this debate first before purchasing this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Right argument, perhaps the wrong person arguing
I have thought for several days about posting this review, but in the end I felt I could not remain silent. The ethical treatment of living beings is something my wife and I believe in very strongly. You do everything in your power to give those beings in your care a comfortable, fulfilling life be they animal or plant. Every day we grapple with the fact that for us to live we must destroy others, and we do not take this fact lightly. So when someone comes along with the powers of persuasion and the well constructed arguments Mr Singer has you tend to embrace the book, and say, "see this is what I meant."

The problem is that Mr Singer also justifies the killing of human infants if they have some kind of "grave physical abnormality" like hemophilia. Mr Singer does not consider these infants "persons" because they do not have a sense of their own future; but the same argument could be made about the animals he is supposedly trying to save. A calf has no sense of its future, and it knows nothing about running and gamboling outside if it has never done it, so by extending Mr Singers arguments even the cruelest forms of producing veal is justifiable.

The eugenics movement of the last century advocated the improvement of the human race by castrating or eliminating the physically and mentally imperfect. Mr Singer has taken the stand that it is justifiable to kill the imperfect to make room for the, supposed, perfect. A concept Adolf Hitler took to its terrible limits.

I just find it sad that a movement as important as animal rights should have as one of its major voices a man who would have no philosophical problem killing me sixty year ago, or my grandson two years ago. You can kill a bleeder because they aren't really a person, but don't you dare kill a chicken.

4-0 out of 5 stars In the future
I think Peter Singer is right in the battle to protect the animals. He shows in the book why is necessary the men change his mind .

5-0 out of 5 stars Contents:
Articles and essays from different people like philosophers, biologists, activists and lobbyists. Here you learn first hand accounts of the stories that have made headlines around the world...the plight of the Silver Spring laboratory monkeys, the freeing of the Island of the Dragon dolphins, the successful campaigns against the Draize and LD50 tests, extinctions of species, and confinement of animals in farm factories and zoos. ... Read more

5. Writings on an Ethical Life
by Peter Singer
Paperback: 384 Pages (2001-09-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060007443
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Love him or hate him, you certainly can't ignore him. For the past twenty years, Australian philosopher and professor of bioethics Peter Singer has pushed the hot buttons of our collective conscience. In addition to writing the book that sparked the modern animal rights movement, Singer has challenged our most closely held beliefs on the sanctity of human life, the moral obligation's of citizens of affluent nations toward those living in the poorest countries of the world, and much more, with arguments that intrigue as often and as powerfully as they incite.

Writings On An Ethical Life offers a comprehensive collection of Singer's best and most provocative writing, as chosen by Singer himself. Among the controversial subjects addressed are the moral status of animals, environmental account-ablility, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and the ultimate choice of living an ethical life. This book provides an unsurpassed one-volume view of both the underpinnings and the applications of Singer's governing philosophy.

Amazon.com Review
Peter Singer's arguments have penetrating moral accountability that can be quite unnerving to the reader who is expecting an afternoon on the couch with a cup of coffee and a book. In fact, words like influential, controversial, and much less flattering adjectives are invariably appended to his name. There is no doubt that the first two titles apply, but whether he is deserving of the less flattering adjectives remains for readers of this book to decide. Writings on an Ethical Life collects his thoughts on practical ethics over the last 30 years into a single volume. Singer begins from the premise that "the whole point of ethical judgments is to guide practice," which may not seem very remarkable nowadays, but in its day was virtually anathema to academic ethicists, who preferred abstract theorizing to practical moral reasoning.

Singer first gained eminence for his profoundly important early work on animal rights, arguing convincingly for vegetarianism and against the commonplace cruel treatment of animals by large commercial interests. However, he has probably attracted the most notoriety for his much-maligned writings in defense of abortion rights and certain forms of euthanasia. Singer is frequently misunderstood, misquoted, and demonized. Ironically, the ferocity of his detractors--particularly during his appointment as DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University--has generated nearly unheard-of exposure for an academic philosopher. While a small portion of Singer's work has been catapulted into the limelight, lay audiences have often overlooked other equally important ideas--unfortunate, because he is a wonderfully plainspoken and powerful writer: "Where so many are in such great need, indulgence in luxury is not morally neutral, and the fact that we have not killed anyone is not enough to make us morally decent citizens of the world." It is no wonder Singer is so controversial and influential. --Eric de Place ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars enlightened thinking
another excellent book from peter singer.always a pleasure to read good sense, well written.ranges across important issues about human values such as fear and honesty.

2-0 out of 5 stars I'm too old for this
This is a book you should read in your teens or even before. As an adult, I found it tedious, obvious and even boring. This is fodder for long conversations between earnest youths, not anything most adults need to waste any time on.

Anyone over the age of twenty should have already had every thought Singer expresses here and have come to their own peace with the difficulties of ethics.At the end of the day, most of us realize that we can't ever know enough to judge what is "right" or "wrong"; we can only bumble along doing our best and live with the guilt that our lack of certainty brings.

I think Singer just never grew up.If I were ten or eleven, I'd probably treasure this.At sixty-one, it's a complete bore.

So: five stars if you are an adolescent exploring your ethical self.Two stars or less for anyone else.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book with Real Meaning for the World
This book is well thought out and clearly organized in thought.Singer is someone that knows what he is talking about regarding what is really living an Ethical Life. Most people want to pretend he is wrong but sometimes the truth is inconvenient to how we live but it is the truth nonetheless and we become a better world and a better species because of it.If you really want to live an ethical life and feel good when you die about your existence in this world, read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable reading
Singer writes about many subjects which are potentially disturbing to a complacent, wealthy American (such as myself). I found the essays to be a salutary reminder of my effect on the larger world, and refreshingly down-to-earth. These are not academic essays, but journalistic ones which address ethical matters of concern to every political person with a conscience.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting
For some reason I thought this would be a spiritual look at philosophy, life, etc.... a more "light", eastern-style book.After reading just a few pages, it seemed to me to be more a way of showcasing Singer's own intellect.I can't stomach books full of pseudo-intellectual double-speak.Just say what you gotta say, without trying to come off so damned intellectual! ... Read more

6. The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter
by Peter Singer, Jim Mason
Paperback: 336 Pages (2007-03-06)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$8.83
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Asin: 1594866872
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Peter Singer, the groundbreaking ethicist whom The New Yorker calls the most influential philosopher alive teams up again with Jim Mason, his coauthor on the acclaimed Animal Factories, to set their critical sights on the food we buy and eat: where it comes from, how it is produced, and whether it was raised humanely.

The Ethics of What We Eat explores the impact our food choices have on humans, animals, and the environment. Recognizing that not all of us will become vegetarians, Singer and Mason offer ways to make healthful, humane food choices. As they point out: You can be ethical without being fanatical.
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Customer Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ethical Decisions at the Checkout
This study covers a lot of ground, tracing back and examining the implications of where our food comes from. Basically it is divided into three sections and each revolves around a family and their eating habits. It goes from a standard meat eating family to a semi-vegetarian or "conscientious omnivore" family to a vegan family. No prize for guessing which comes out as the best lifestyle choice for all of us, for animals, and for the environment-the vegan family, of course!

This book is packed with information, more than a lot of other books I've read. It introduced me to a couple of things I hadn't considered, such as the way food industries defray costs onto others, or why fish farming is just as bad as any other factory farming, or how food transportation consumes so much energy, or why buying local may not be best in all cases. It touches upon more issues than what you might expect, and gives local detail before widening the perspective with broader implications. Ultimately, "agriculture indirectly affects all living creatures" and all of the detrimental effects of this are "because of our choices about what we eat."

I was particularly interested in hard facts on labeling. They deliver on this by actually visiting so-called organic farms and detailing what they saw. As suspected, many of these farms are not what I would class as organic regardless of any official pronouncements. The authors had similar reservations. It all remains "questionable," and while buying products with "Certified Humane" and the like is better than not, the best choice of all is not buying animal based products at all. You cannot get away from one undeniable reality: food producers seek to maximize profits and this is invariably contrary to the interests of the animals.

The book is dictated by the food choices in it, but I wonder if it would have been an entirely different book if different families and foods been focused on. There's no doubt, although given that the problems with food production are universal, I suppose many food trails would lead back to the same culprits or their equivalents. So, I have to question how much was controlled by the authors and how much simply left to chance in their survey. That is not really explored. I guess their idea was to leave much to chance, to rely on chance to deliver "averages" and make it more "objective" without their interference.

One criticism I have is that I had trouble remembering who bought what, which farmer it was traced back to, and what the findings were. Perhaps if each section paralleled others I could look back and find corresponding sections for each family, but sections do not parallel each other, and I suppose they can't, since different issues arise for different circumstances. For example, meat and dairy are not going to be discussed in relation to the vegan family. In any case, I wasn't enthusiastic about the structure they settled on. Perhaps it would have been better to structure it according to food type and discuss each family under that.

I would like to have seen more details on the families, like which family members haul around the fattest asses and what kind of education levels we are dealing with in relation to food choice. I guess that's all getting into murky territory that would be enough to sustain another book, yet a few cholesterol stats wouldn't have taken up much space. I did enjoy the note that while the US is somewhat slavish to Christian notions, the sin of gluttony appears to get overlooked.

Criticism in the book could have been sharper, especially against lazy or twisted thinkers the authors touch upon. They at least took Michael Pollin to task and others who justify the raising of animals for slaughter as some kind of bizarre evolutionary bargain or "mutualism," as if they cannot shake a dominion mentality passed on through Christian culture. In relation, one farmer they did not actually talk to called Joel Salatin is a Christian and believes animals do not have a soul. All the authors say to this lunacy is that religions often reflect "the speciesism of the humans who made them." I know dissecting Salatin's delusions would have gone beyond the scope of the book, but still I'd like to have read more of what they thought on him and other figures in the book.

Overall, this is a great book to have on the shelf, one that can be returned to for reference, since I doubt the findings will be going out of date any time soon. It is heartening to see that the kind of information Singer and Mason have presented here is entering into mainstream consciousness.

I was going to give this 4 stars but after reflecting on the density of research packed into this book I think 5 is justified. I recommend both the book and going vegan.

5-0 out of 5 stars ETHIC cuisine
In an auspicious convergence for the ethics of eating, the year 2006 heralded publication of two divergent but equally important answers to the puzzling questions of the morality of meat. The bestselling The Omnivore's Dilemma is well known. The philosophical but practical The Way We Eatis less so. No one philosopher has better earned the title as "animal rights ethicist" than has Peter Singer. Yet in The Way We Eat, co-authored with animal rights attorney Jim Mason, Singer suggests it might be ethical to eat animals who have lived comfortable lives. Somewhat synonymous with what some now call "humane meat," Singer and Mason anoint the appellation "conscientious omnivore." A new ethnic cuisine: Ethic cuisine. This emerging moral vocabulary is one whose etymologies can be attributed to vegetarian evangelists and animal liberationists. Their shouts of protest and their cries of lamentation have been heard. Many meat eaters grown uneasy with their own complicity now seek the lesser of several evils. Michael Pollan too deserves credit for expanding this lexicon. Pollan, however, is less forthright about his own omnivorism than are Singer and Mason about their veganism. Instead, Pollan applies his considerable intelligence merely to rationalize and bolster his considerable decadence. For Pollan, meat's taste trumps its waste. Rather than renounce meat as a superfluity, at least he denounces its cruelty. But if you dare to look beyond the cutesy façade that "humane meat" constructs so carnivores can have their cows and eat them too, then to venture further you should fully digest the facts and reasons presented in this book. Upon doing so, we should address the issue of "humane meat" first by changing the term to "less inhumane meat." -- Mark Mathew Braunstein

5-0 out of 5 stars Lifestance Changing Book
Where Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma" can leave one scratching their head about what to eat, Singer and Mason do a better job at exploring in detail where our food comes from, how it's produced, and why our food choices matter. Not only do they do a great job as explaining conditions in factory farms for various types of animals, but they explain the ethical implications of food choices in terms of animal treatment, sustainability, environmental costs, and impact on food producers from developing nations.

They examine three types of diets: the standard american diet, an ethical omnivore's diet, and a vegan diet. Broad in scope yet appropriate in detail, this book answers many of the questions I had after reading "Omnivore's Dilemma". After learning the facts, and exploring the ethics of eating, I have changed my eating habits to conform with my new ethical standards. The book is interesting, well written, and extremely relevant. I couldn't recommend it more. -

3-0 out of 5 stars Terrible copyediting
I read this awhile ago, so I won't try to address the book's ideas in detail. Suffice it to say, I was sympathetic to the authors' points - I'm a vegetarian - but thought Singer's Animal Liberation was better. I'm posting at this late date because the book popped into my mind again just yesterday as one of the most poorly edited books I have ever encountered. I assume the paperback is better, but honestly, the number of editing errors in the hardcover set a new standard for poor. I remember thinking that even the draft submitted by the authors to the publisher should have been cleaner than this finished book. Really, really terrible. A minor point, I'll grant, but perhaps of interest to the detail-oriented.

4-0 out of 5 stars an urgent challenge for everyone
very good, accessible book overall, though with some unfortunate typos.but that's just the bored copy editor in me.

anyway, as this book has reaffirmed for me, eating meat "fails" on a number of fronts concerning the head & heart, but eating meat produced through industrialized farming -- which in this country unfortunately makes up 90-98% of the meat available, depending on which meat (or eggs) -- fails on every imaginable front: health; ethical for the animals (living conditions, selective breeding, slaughter, etc.); ethical for humans (wages, conditions, environmental concerns, health risks to humans in terms of viruses and chemicals, etc.); and environment (pollution, inefficient use of food/energy used in industrialized farming, etc.).

of course, it is possible to eat meat that avoids most of these ethical concerns, but it takes some effort to certify that the meat and eggs are genuinely coming from a responsible, sustainable, humane farm.there are still health questions, however, as well as concerns about energy uses to produce and transport the food (vs. more efficient options), but those can be addressed on a more personal basis.the other ethical concerns, however, should genuinely trouble all persons with consciences and challenge them to re-consider what, and the ways in which, they eat.

but rest assured: this book is not a blatant case for veganism, and I'm not suggesting that vegans can read it with little to no ethical stirrings.there are a still a host of ethical issues relating to fruits, veggies, rice, coffee, etc., particularly when it comes to concerns about the environmental impact of buying organic and/or buying local -- this is an issue that I have wondered about, and this book was helpful in addressing some of the ethical concerns in, for instance, buying more locally grown but not organic fruit vs. organic fruit imported from another country.also, is it always better to buy local when the money can go further and do more good in developing countries?actually, this book has only further complicated the picture for me -- but that's because the issues are so darn complex, not because of any fault of the writers.most helpful has been the prod to think and research, and the sources they provide to help are a great start.

I do wish that the authors would have been a bit more critical about "dumpstering" and "freegans" at the end.I think they gave a free pass to a phony, garbled revolutionary outlook about consumerism and change.becoming irrelevant to a system you think is destroying the world isn't the best way to work against it -- it's just a way of washing your hands of a problem and going on your way. ... Read more

7. Practical Ethics
by Peter Singer
Paperback: 411 Pages (1999-01-30)
list price: US$31.99 -- used & new: US$12.99
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Asin: 052143971X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Peter Singer's remarkably clear and comprehensive Practical Ethics has become a classic introduction to applied ethics since its publication in 1979 and has been translated into many languages. For this second edition the author has revised all the existing chapters, added two new ones, and updated the bibliography. He has also added an appendix describing some of the deep misunderstanding of and consequent violent reaction to the book in Germany, Austria and Switzerland where the book has tested the limits of freedom of speech. The focus of the book is the application of ethics to difficult and controversial social questions. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Removing our paleochristian baggage for a clearer view of our ethical problems
Peter Singer delves in to some of the most controversial and relevant ethical dilemmas in our day with a strong clarity and simplicity of prose.His writing style is that of a man who tinkers with ideas, going down a path to see what comes out.The reader will find that when you follow this path, the results can be fascinating, unsettling and sometimes contradictory.For example, his unassailable logic leads him to presume that it is less just to kill an animal for meat than it is to kill a fetus.Many critics have responded to these contradictions but his logic as outlined in this book is difficult to deny.Because he focuses on 'practical ethics' he discusses only topics on which there is still honest debate, or in which there are emerging ethical problems such as euthanasia and abortion.I bought this book to read the words of an intelligent philosopher and possibly have a better justification for my 'political views' on these topics but I never though they would directly apply to me (except the meat-eating portions).But shortly after reading this book I was faced with some ethical problems brought on by modern advancements in medical technology.The thought-processes that this book stimulated in my mind allowed me to more clearly make some important decisions that one doesn't face in everyday life without worrying about meaningless objections.That is one of the biggest compliments that a book like this can generate, is that is useful.This book clearly dismantles some of the historical baggage we have in our decision making based on debunked ways of looking at the world.It is amazing that in our modern, educated world we haven't moved past these biases towards things that are unsettling, or icky for no logical reason.I include myself in that previous sentence.More specifically, the author removes the barriers towards general and widespread acceptance of culturally sensitive topics like euthanasia and abortion.When you remove the debunked religious notion of a soul, then some of the main drivers of ethics are suffering and consciousness.The author uses utilitarian philosophical techniques to analyze the suffering related to our modern decision-making.This weighting of suffering and level of consciousness is then used to aid in decision making.For instance, this is how the author concludes that it is less just to kill an animal for meat than a fetus because of the animals greater level of consciousness and possibility of suffering.While this finding may be surprising it is likely true that fetuses don't have a high level of consciousness.This is a topic that I found myself adjusting my views slightly on due to this book although I considered legalization of euthanasia a no-brainer before reading this book.While I didn't agree with the authors conclusions for every topic within the book, I realize that many of the critics are not seriously analyzing his conclusions and are often quote-mining things out of context.There is enough stuff in this book that is controversial to paleo-christians that they don't need to quote infanticide passages out of context to claim Mr Singer is a nazi.Please engage him on the issues, your preliterate shepherding worldview has enough contrast with this mans advanced thinking without lying for Jesus.

5-0 out of 5 stars Practical Ethics
A well-rounded book offering arguments from multiple sides. While Peter Singer's philosophies are sometimes quite flawed, I believe, they spark interesting discussions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Some Reviewers Are Not Smart
I am amazed at the number of people who criticize Peter Singer's work, Practical Ethics, by somehow pointing to his contradictions. I need to remind some of you that if there is one thing professional philosophers know somethingor two about is contradictions, and if any of you have spent a little time in a philosophy class, you might understand the importance of Singer's work.

When I read some of these self-assured reviewers, who, for the most part, lack any training in logic and rigorous philosophical analysis but love to throw the term "contradiction" around, as a form of self-adulation, I chuckle. Regrettably, what I do find are people who build straw-man arguments, abandon the principle of charity, and engage in ad hominem attacks. Singer is a respected scholar, which doesn't mean you have to agree with him. But it would behoove many of you to follow this instructive maxim: before you go on writing a scathing review, make sure you understand the ideas FIRST. You would sound foolish, as some people on these posting do, criticizing something you don't fully understand.

5-0 out of 5 stars Controversial and Compelling
Those who come to Singer's book expecting to be applauded for their preconceived notions of right and wrong may be disappointed.Singer's book is actually one long argument for his particular brand of consequentialist ethics, and it leaves aside any mollifying lip-service to contract ethics, deontological ethics, or relativist thinking.It refuses to traffic in over-simplified religious notions of morality, or in ethical systems based upon sheer self-interest.Singer is interested in a reasoned approach to ethics, and this is exactly what he delivers.

In this book, you will be introduced early to the basic principles of Singer's utilitarian ethics, and these principles will be reviewed again and again as the argument builds from issues of basic equality, through animal rights and medical ethics, to the ethics of international relations and environmentalism.The argument is cumulative, building upon itself in clear steps as it goes along.While I've read some folks who clearly don't get what Singer has to say, I think that can only happen when we let our own prejudices get in the way of understanding the book.I've never read a clearer account of an ethical system anywhere.

You may not agree with what Singer has to say.Many don't.But if you approach this book as an honest reader, rather than as a person hunting for reasons to be angry or offended, then you will find an elegance to Singer's approach which is to be found nowhere else.If this kind of honest reading is outside your range of interests, you may wish to ask yourself why you are reading philosophy in the first place.

The most compelling part of the book, for me, was Singer's thorough and patient discussion of the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests.This principle, combined with a universal view of ethics and a healthy respect for realistic circumstances, can take the place of much more convoluted conceptions of rights and duties.I found the idea liberating when I first encountered it, and it has proved very "teachable" in my classroom.

Towards the end of the book, Singer makes some claims that I found myself questioning, but these claims did not detract seriously from my enjoyment of the book.Nor did they undermine the overall power of Singer's argument.

I highly recommend this book to people who are looking for a clear, consistent approach to humanist ethics.I also recommend it to those who enjoy reading carefully crafted arguments.The book may make you squirm.It may make you question your own practices.But it will not bore you.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not only unethical but impractical, too!
On 4/9/02, I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Princeton's Peter Singer in Lawrenceville, NJ.I posed a question, citing two quotations from his "Practical Ethics, 2nd ed.":
1.) "That there is a huge gulf between humans and animals was unquestioned for most of the course of Western civilization....The use of language was another boundary line - but now chimpanzees, gorillas, and an orangutan have learnt Ameslan, the sign language of the deaf" (p.72);
2.)"Are animals self-conscious?There is now solid evidence that some are.Perhaps the most dramatic evidence comes from apes who can communicate with us using a human language" (p.111).

I began: "Professor, I read Practical Ethics two years ago, and I have not eaten a Big Mac since.I also think that you make a sympathetic case for the mistreatment of farm animals.However, I remain an unapologetic speceist.I have worked with deaf people for twenty years and have studied American Sign Language for twenty years.Though I do not believe that language is all that sets humans apart from non-humans, you seem to largely hang your hat on this.I know of no one who knows American Sign Language who maintains that non-humans can sign.Are there studies of which I am unaware?"

Singer began his reply: "Obviously, you are more of an expert in sign language than I."He then went on to acknowledge that the famed ape sign language studies had been criticized for "overinterpreting" what constituted sign language.I then asked, "So, you would no longer maintain that non-humans use Ameslan?"Singer did some fumbling around and replied, "Oh, I didn't say that."He then cited monkeys hitting picture buttons on computers as a possible indication that the critiques of the monkey sign language studies were off base.Huh?

I wanted to next reply: "Well Professor, I can see that it's not logic that you are teaching at Princeton."I deferred for fear of alienating the audience.Nevertheless, I was not allowed to ask additional questions.My on-deck question was: "Professor, it's been reported that you believe that human parents should be allowed to kill their newborns - up to several months.Is that true?"Of course, I already knew that to be true.
... Read more

8. Peter Singer Under Fire (Under Fire Series)
Paperback: 640 Pages (2009-09-01)
list price: US$59.95 -- used & new: US$37.73
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Asin: 0812696182
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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One of the leading ethical thinkers of the modern age, Peter Singer has repeatedly been embroiled in controversy. Protesters in Germany closed down his lectures, mistakenly thinking he was advocating Nazi views on eugenics. Conservative publisher Steve Forbes withdrew generous donations to Princeton after Singer was appointed professor of bioethics. His belief that infanticide is sometimes morally justified has appalled people from all walks of life. Peter Singer Under Fire gives a platform to his critics on many contentious issues. Leaders of the disability rights group Not Dead Yet attack Singer’s views on disability and euthanasia. Economists criticize the effectiveness of his ideas for solving global poverty. Philosophers expose problems in Singer’s theory of utilitarianism and ethicists refute his position on abortion. Singer’s engaging “Intellectual Autobiography” explains how he came by his controversial views, while detailed replies to each critic reveal further surprising aspects of his unique outlook.
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Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Peter Singer Misunderstood
I haven't finished the book but I enjoyed what I read. If you want to understand how applied ethical work is done and some of the big debates within it, then this is a good book to read.

Unfortunately, I have two problems with how applied ethical work is done.For the most part, philosopher tends to rehash the same arguments others have made in the past, just using new words. Since there are multiple essays in each section you spend a lot of time beating around the same bushes--which can be fun, but not educational. There are a few good ideas in here, many of them most people are already familiar with (when Cowen argues for the importance of growth he knows he's preaching to the economist choir), but not as many as you'd expect to get for $40 and 600+ pages.

Another problem with the book is that, although it claims to put Peter Singer "under fire," most of the essays either misrepresent his views or don't tackle his fundamental assumptions. In the first response that I read Singer says point blank, to paraphrase, "I never made any of the claims you refute." This is typical of applied ethical work--it's easier to argue with straw men then try to undermine someone's ethical axioms. (Someone like Singer isn't going to make many logical mistakes, so you are leftto try and undermine his assumptions. The empirical ones are easy to debunk in cases but those aren't "philosophically interesting.")

So if you enjoy ethics, you'll enjoy this book. There's plenty in there for several nice strolls through the field--just don't worry if it seems like you've been here before, plod along and don't let the scarecrows bother you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Each essay receives a reply from Singer
Peter Singer Under Fire: The Moral Iconoclast Faces His Critics includes the philosopher's intellectual autobiography of his life, tells how he arrived at his many controversial viewpoints, and pairs this approach with fifteen essays from prominent critics of Singer. Each essay receives a reply from Singer. The blend of autobiography and careful back/forth debate makes for an outstanding survey of Singer's views on modern social issues and is a key acquisition for college-level holdings strong in either philosophical debate or social science. ... Read more

9. Ethics Into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement
by Peter Singer
Paperback: 192 Pages (1999-11-23)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.43
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Asin: 0847697533
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This book tells the inspiring story of a lifelong activist whose creativity and careful thought set the standard for the animal rights movement in the twentieth century. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars The story starts with chapter 2
Singer is a terrific researcher and is genuinely interested in Spira; however, I think Singer spends too many pages on Spira's background.Chapters 2-6 are excellent, though. Great information for new animal activists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Little Seeds of Practical Idealism
I stumbled across a glowing recommendation for this book within a blog entry posted by a fellow vegan. I was intrigued, given Peter Singer's name on the dust jacket -- his book on Animal Rights, which is written in such a memorably concise, levelheaded and rational fashion, ranks right up there as one of the penultimate reasons I decided to go vegan, myself.

That little sense of intrigue was more than well rewarded by what I found in this book. Henry Spira's story is downright inspiring (to such an extent, while reading this slim bio, the bad punster in me couldn't help toying with the subject's name: "Henry Spira's in-SPIRA-tional". If you're not groaning, you should be).

The practice of veganism can raise discomforting questions -- how does a compassionate individual with a strong sense of personal ethics grapple with a profoundly careless world in which cruelty is commonplace to the point of mundanity and concern for the disenfranchised may seem alien to the point of provoking fear, even open hostility in others? What happens when a compassion for the voiceless develops into an inured hostility toward those who are careless? How can an ethical individual work toward reducing unnecessary suffering while continuing to extend compassion even to those who create that selfsame unnecessary suffering?

Henry Spira responded to such open ended questions by focusing on action. How could he, as one individual, work to bring about the greatest cessation of animal suffering possible? His answer -- via a mastery of relentless focus, indefatiguable optimisim, careful planning and a ceaseless upwelling of drive -- made him a matchless force within the movement toward animal rights.

I noticed, as I reading this book, that Mr. Singer's writing style seemed a bit rough in some places. Initially, I chalked this up to the notion that philosophy and storytelling, though similiar, are fundamentally divergent if equally challenging forms of communication. The real reason for this narrational shakiness, however, is revealed towards the end of the book and works as a spurringly poignant denoument.

I'd recommend this book to anyone -- vegan or omnivore, activist or armchair guerrilla -- because, at heart, it is more than the story of one lesser known hero from the folds of the animal rights movement; it is a roadmap to dynamic compassion, the pinnacle win-win.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deep insight, amazing stories, wonderful book
The story of Henry himself is amazing enough, but this wonderful book is even more than that. Weaved into the life story of Henry are the stories of so many other people.

There are those who are not as famous but nonethless critical to all the achievements, like the donors who supported Henry, like the volunteers who handled the daily work, like Henry's advisors who turned his idea into concrete actions, like the numerous individuals who gave followed his call to write letters or picket or take any other action.

Then there are also those sincere and good people who is not in the "movement". There is Senator Lombardi who gave Henry a fair hearing, and Roger Shelley from Revlon who believed there is a win-win solution, and Susan Fowler of 'Lab Animal' who interviewed Henry the anti-vivisectionist.

And then there are also those who are apparently on the side of the "movement" but cared more about themselves. There are the researchers who abuse money donated by people and industry, and there are groups who seem to care more about getting people's donation and their personal glory than helping victims.

And then there are people who seem to really believe that everything on earth are just for their personal gain. From the hideous boss of NMU to the cat-vivisectionist Aronson, from "tough" guy Frank Purdue to the more scheming Leon Hirsch.

There is such a rich spectrum of people in this book, it is worth reading even if you don't agree with anything else from Peter Singer.

There are also many hilarious stories. The visit of congressman Koch to the cat experiment lab, the "biological fluid collection units", and the story about the super comdom for the chicken-in-a-comdom ad.

This book is definitely worth reading, and not just once. Each time I turned the pages and got to the part where Henry told the author that he's got the cancer, my heart sank like a rock. Oh, no, not him, not so early, please. I really wish Henry is still with us today, the whole world might be a different place.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book -- A must read for all activists!!
This book is truly amazing. It is a very exciting book to read, and the enthusiasm of Henry Spira can not help to rub off on your own life. Peter Singer has done an excellent job of giving the reader an easy to access look into the life of a man who inspired thousands of people to think more about all forms of suffering for all types of animals.

Thank you for such an amazing book! It is a must read for anyone involved in activism. It shares a lifetime of wisdom. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars A primer in effective (animal)activism
Being persuaded about animal rights for some time now, I have been looking for ideas on how to get active. This book provides lots of ideas and is an inspiring portrait of an attractive and committed person. It is also very readable - I read it early into the morning until I finished it.

Spira's activism was highly intelligent, practical, strategic and committed to the long term - he is a hero of the animal rights movement. ... Read more

10. Practical Ethics
by Peter Singer
Paperback: 280 Pages (2011-01-31)
list price: US$31.99 -- used & new: US$24.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521707684
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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. ... Read more

11. The Moral of the Story: An Anthology of Ethics Through Literature
Paperback: 640 Pages (2005-02-18)
list price: US$41.95 -- used & new: US$29.35
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Asin: 1405105844
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In The Moral of the Story, Peter and Renata Singer draw on some of the best works of fiction, playwriting, and poetry in order to shed light on the perennial questions of ethics.

  • A vivid montage of literature that touches on a broad range of ethical subjects and themes
  • Offers a unique contribution to the study of moral philosophy and literature
  • Demonstrates how literary sources can add richness to discussions of real-life moral questions and dilemmas
  • Brings together selections and excerpts from the world’s most celebrated short stories, novels, plays, and poetry
  • Features substantive section introductions by Peter and Renata Singer
  • Peter Singer is a leading moral philosopher, widely credited with triggering the modern animal-rights movement. His collection of essays, Unsanctifying Human Life, edited by Helga Kuhse, was published by Blackwell Publishing in 2001.
  • ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unexpected treasure
    For a beginner in the study of ethics like myself this was a superb alternative to a dry textbook. I was surprised to find excerpts from books that I have already read and liked ("The Good German" by Joseph Kannon being such example), and see notes by Singer & Singer as to why the issue was chosen and what questions were posed.The fact that Peter Singer, an avowed utilitarianist, included a short story by Ursula LeGuin ("The Ones who walk away from Omelas")which could be seen as contrasting the "greater good to all achieved at the expense of harm to one" with "absolute rights of one and of all", was not lost on me.Much recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good way to find books you want to read by previewing them
    This book was for a class in college and I ended up really liking it. It is a bunch of short stories and parts of books so it was a good way to find some more books that I would like to read in the future. It was also very interesting. I would definently recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars unusual, provocative collection
    This book is a refreshing departure from most Ethics textbooks. Singer and Singer have collected 79 readings--poems, short stories, and excerpts from novels--which they use as a way to get readers to think about interesting moral issues. The stories make the issues concrete, make them come to life, and are usually effective at drawing the reader into the situation. The book is divided into 15 sections. Each section has a three or four page introduction that gives a philosophical overview, then four or five readings for each section explore these issues in specific detail. The real strength of the book is the range of the readings. Highlights include: Invisible Man, Bonfire of the Vanities, The Soft-Hearted Sioux, The Model, Mrs Warren's Profession, Enduring Love, How to be Good, The Undesirable Table, The Limits of Trooghaft, Robinson Crusoe, Huckleberry Finn, The Third Man, This Way for the Gas, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, The Remains of the Day, To Kill a Mockingbird, Brave New World, and The Princess Casamassima. Highly recommended. ... Read more

    12. Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics
    by Peter Singer
    Paperback: 320 Pages (1996-04-15)
    list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$3.42
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312144016
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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    The new commandments according to Rethinking Life and Death.
    --If you must take human life, take responsibility for the consequences of your decisions.
    --All human life is not of equal worth; treat beings in accordance to the ethical situation at hand.
    --Respect a person's desire to live or die.
    A profound and provocative work, Rethinking Life and Death, in the tradition of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, examines the ethical dilemmas that confront us as we near the twenty-first century.
    ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (11)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Complete rubbish
    This book is complete rubbish from beginning to end. It is simplistic and childish in its ideas and bordering on the irrational.Don't waste your money reading an old fashioned rehash of nihilistic garbage. This is so predictable . It reduces man to a mere empty shell devoid of any real value.This man needs help.

    2-0 out of 5 stars So-so book with some critical thought, otherwise a re-hash of old ideas from the 70's
    Singer proposes to redefine death based on quality of life rather than (the current) sanctity of all human life.Basically a might-is-right attitude, with those who possess full abilities and consciousness being considered fully human, but those who lack full ability and/or consciousness considered something less.Dangerous thinking, but then again, this is nothing new.

    Singer even goes as far as saying some animals should be considered "persons" because of their high level of consciousness and thought.Makes me think of my pug, who under Singer's proposal would have full human rights, such as the right to free speech, bear arms, due process, representation, vote, etc.It's laughable, but what else would you expect from a pantheist?Whereas a fetus, down syndrome baby, a person in vegetative states, elderly with dementia/Alzheimer's, etc. would not be considered "persons" and should not be expected to have full rights, or any rights.With that said, he advocates infanticide up to 30 days after birth to give parents the choice of exterminating their child if he/she has some undesirable defect.It would actually be funny, if only a few believed as he does, but more and more are signing on to this way of thought.

    In summary, it's well thought out book with interesting examples.Singer's no slouch, but is very misguided IMHO, especially on the infanticide and "animal rights" front.If you support a culture/sanctity of life ethic, it's a good way of seeing how the enemy thinks.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Logic (witha capital "L")
    Human beings are on an equal plane with, say, a giraffe.A Down Syndrome infant is a lesser being than the human and giraffe, and can , therefore, be "put down", provided of course one does this prior to becoming too attached to this child, fated to a sub-standard life.Absolute genius! Look, just like conspiracy theories:just because you are coming up with some radical new approach that leaves you in the minority opinion, it doesn't make you a stellar intellectual or your arguments airtight.It just makes you bored.

    1-0 out of 5 stars The collapse of Western Civilization
    With Singer's logical lapses and anti-human, anti-humanitarian biases he lead his readers and followers into collapse of Western Civilization as we know it.

    It is very scary that this book, and those like it, receive positive feedback. What a tragedy.

    P.S. I have heard recently Singer debate live at Biola university and watched him debate on DVD. And while his "performance" based human value may look attractive at first to some, it is dangerously closely to ANY sort of discrimination based on one's performance. Be it mental capacity, desire to live, memory, or whatever. May be we should make census to find out who of 'us' is better qualified to be human than others? Utilitarianism driven assessment of one's performance is used as a rule to measure the 'personhood' of a human being. The biggest irony is that while he uses self-created terms like 'specisism', he himself created the framework of discrimination even greater that what he presumably fights. His discrimination is against weak, unprotected, defenseless individuals. Instead of carrying the burden of compassion, and responsibility, he invites us into easy solution - killing those who need compassion and care. I wonder if we need to fire all psychologists/ psychiatrists/ counselors etc... If person want to die, why treat his depression if we can kill him? Old values collapsed, you know, sick need to be put to death instead of curing them. Interesting... everything gone upside-down.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Well-Written Must Read by Singer
    I never would have thought that I would come across a work of non-fiction that I couldn't put down, but here it is!

    Fascinating and thought provoking, in Rethinking Life and Death, Singer shows how and why the western world has already started moving away from the Judeo-Christian sanctity of human life ethic.He sites the emphasis on 'brain death' and the acceptance of Galileo's discovery that we (humans) are not the center of the universe as the beginnings of the break down of this ethical system.

    Singer reports where many western nations currently fall both legally and in mainstream medical practice with regard to controversial topics including abortion, infanticide, stem cell research, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.Furthermore, Singer uses well-reasoned logical arguments to show why these current interpretations of the sanctity of human life ethic are unsustainable.

    In the last section of this book, Singer presents a working model for a new quality of life ethic and effortlessly shows how they would apply to situations in which our traditional ethic yields unsatisfactory results.Additionally, Singer shows the practical and moral justification for his most controversial stance - acceptance of infanticide.

    One thing I really thought was magnificent about this book is that, while Singer obviously supports a shift to whole-hearted acceptance of a quality of life ethic, he doesn't insist that as a reader you agree with him.Singer leaves perfectly open the door of maintaining a sanctity of (all) life ethic; he just makes sure the reader understands the consequences of such an ethic in its pure and unadulterated form.

    Once again, I have to compliment Singer on his amazing writing style.This book really reads more like a novel than a work of non-fiction.At the end of each section I was left on the edge of my seat, wondering what Singer would bring up next!Needless to say, I was never disappointed.Singer has wonderful wit and is equally critical of all sides of the argument.He also includes many telling narratives that make Rethinking Life and Death both entertaining and truly enlightening.

    It is in no way surprising that many religious types will condemn this book.After reading Rethinking Life and Death, there is only one reasonable conclusion that one can come to: the Judeo-Christian sanctity of human life ethic is logically and morally indefensible.As individuals we can certainly choose to put our heads in the sand and ignore the problem, but as Singer states, "The question is not whether [the Judeo-Christian sanctity of human life ethic] will be replaced, but what the shape of its successor will be." ... Read more

    13. The Life You Can Save: How to Play Your Part in Ending World Poverty. Peter Singer
    by Peter Singer
    Paperback: 208 Pages (2010-03)
    -- used & new: US$9.11
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0330454595
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    'A brilliant philosopher whose views both inflame and delight. His proposal is characteristically clear: a practical plan to eradicate world poverty' - "Observer". Would you walk past a drowning child? This is a book that will change the way you think about giving. It shows what you can do, as an individual, about the fact that more than a billion people are living in extreme poverty. It argues for an urgent change in our culture, and it invites you to play your part. The complexities of the aid debate are well rehearsed; the phrase 'charity begins at home' is all too familiar; the sheer scale of the task is overwhelming. But Singer, who has been writing for more than three decades about how we should respond to hunger and poverty, suggests that anything other than urgent and direct action is tantamount to walking by. If enough people regularly give a small amount, he says, we can together make a significant difference. Find out about the life you can save. 'This book has persuaded me that I should give more - significantly more - to help those less fortunate' - "Financial Times". 'It's the opposite of a glossy self-help book. It's a help-others book' - "Sunday Herald".'If you believe world poverty is far too big a problem to solve, this book will convince you otherwise. A 'can do' lifesaver, just one or two steps along the evolutionary tree from Nudge' - "Scotland on Sunday". ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant piece of philosophical writing that everyone should read...
    In this relatively short book, Professor Singer makes an extremely compelling case for why it is morally obligatory for capable individuals to aid beings that suffer. Those that are familiar with his previous work "Famine, Affluence and Morality" ([...]) will recognize his basic arguments on poverty, which he has been expanding upon for over three decades. For those who are unfamiliar with Peter Singer, the argument he expands upon in this book is quoted as follows...

    1.) "Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad."
    2.) "If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so."
    3.) "By donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important."
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Conclusion - "Therefore, if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong."

    This argument is valid, and I think sound, so if one is to reject the conclusion, one MUST reject one (or more) of the premises. If they accept the premises, then they MUST accept the conclusion.

    Professor Singer's logic is solid throughout. His writing is both lucid and entertaining, making this work accessible, absorbing and crucially important to philosophers and philosophical novices alike. This is simply a must read for everyone. ... Read more

    14. Ethics (Oxford Readers)
    Paperback: 432 Pages (1994-05-12)
    list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$28.34
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0192892452
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    What is ethics? Where does it come from? Can we really hope to find any rational way of deciding how we ought to live? If we can, what would it be like, and how are we going to know when we have found it? To capture the essentials of what we know about the origins and nature of ethics, Peter Singer has drawn on anthropology, evolution, game theory, and works of fiction, in addition to the classic moral philosophy of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Kant, and Confucius. By choosing some of the finest pieces of writing, old and new, in and about ethics, he conveys the intellectual excitement of the search for answers to basic questions about how we ought to live. From the debates of Socrates and the profound writing of Rousseau to Jane Goodall's reflections on the ethics of chimpanzee kinship and Luther's commentary on the Sixth Commandment (thou shalt not kill), this engaging reader offers a complete and thorough introduction to the fascinating world of ethical debate. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great reader in ethics...could use a more recent update..
    This is a very good intro to ethics and meta-ethics.Singer is a good writer and his piece at the beginning is almost worth the price of the book alone.It's more of an overview of the classic texts than a state of the art primer on modern research (e.g. the newest primate studies, psychological / neuroscience based studies, etc.).... then again it was written in 1994.Anyway, a good book if you want to read up on classic texts, but might want to go elsewhere for newer stuff.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great anthology
    Apart from being a fine philosopher, Singer is also an excellent editor. I have been using this anthology for years in ethics classes and students like it very much. The selections are short and to the point.There are selections from all historical periods covering most of the major viewpoints.What makes the anthology exceptional is that Singer also includes intriguing, unexpected material, like a short selection about the desert saints, a piece about a relationship between Kant and a friend, a short selection about Gandhi. There's also a fine selection of material about primate ethics. A really good book for classroom use, but also a great collection for the general reader.

    3-0 out of 5 stars to set the record straight...
    the review by Heersink seems factually incorrect.He claims that Singer overlooks Kant's Categorial Imperative, and doesn't even mention Aquinas in the section on Natural Law Theory.However, a perusal of the Table of Contents reveals that neither of these claims are true.While the other criticisms offered might yet hold (I have not read this book), false accusations by Heersink of incompetence on the part of Singer make the aforementioned review questionable.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Pass
    No matter how one feels about Peter Singer as an ethicist, this books shows he's thoroughly incompetent as an editor. I am rather surprised that Oxford University agreed to put its imprint on this volume as an "Oxford Reader." The selections from pivotal ethicists, e.g., Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Bentham, and Sidgwick are ridiculously lowly, inconsequential, or scattered, so "coherence" is lost. Their minor pericopes omit their critical and vital insights; all their important ideas are egregiously overlooked. E.g., Aristotle's doctrine of the mean, eudaimonia, Kant's doctrine of Kingdom of Ends, Categorical Imperative, are just some of the major omissions. Natural law theory doesn't mention the name of Aquinas. The selections that support an evolutionary orientation are a little bit better. The selection from Hume on benevolence is marginal. The essays by Ayer and Wittgenstein are great, but not enough to justify this book. I can't imagine what this book is good for. It certainly fails as an introduction to ethics. It also fails as a current controversy in ethics. It might be used as an intermediate ethics course for some of the pericopes. To say this book is a disappointment is an understatement.

    Disclaimer: Singer is a utilitarian. I don't know how anyone in the 21st C. can use utilitarianism as an "ethic" much less as a system of "morality." Scheffler, Williams, Nozick, et alia should have put this nonsense to rest, as Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and even Hitler were great utilitarians, which is precisely the point. But that aside, I think it skews his editorial judgments as well. For ethics, Aristotle, for morality, Kant, and for benevolence, Smith and Hume. Otherwise, leave the utilitarian calculus for tyrants. ... Read more

    15. Pushing Time Away: My Grandfather and the Tragedy of Jewish Vienna
    by Peter Singer
    Paperback: 288 Pages (2004-02-29)
    list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$8.52
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000IOES8S
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    "What binds us pushes time away" wrote David Oppenheim to his future wife, Amalie Pollak, on March 24, 1905. Oppenheim, classical scholar, collaborator, then critic of Sigmund Freud, and friend and supporter of Alfred Adler, lived through the heights and depths of Vienna's twentieth-century intellectual and cultural history. He perished in obscurity at a Nazi concentration camp in 1943, separated from family and friends, leaving his grandson, the philosopher Peter Singer, without a chance to know him.

    Almost fifty years later Peter Singer set out to explore the life of the grandfather he never knew, and found a scholar whose ideas on ethics and human nature often parallel his own writings. Drawing on a wealth of documents and personal letters, Singer made startling discoveries about his grandparents' early romantic attachments, the basis on which they decide to marry, their professional aspirations, and their differing views of Judaism. An essay that Oppenheim co-wrote with Freud, but which was suppressed because of a bitter split within Freud's psychoanalytical society, leads Singer to explore the difficulties of following one's own ideas in the circles of both Freud and Adler.

    Combining touching family biography with thoughtful reflection on both personal and public questions we face today, Pushing Time Away captures critical moments in Europe's transition from Belle Époque to the Great War and to the rise of Fascism and the coming of World War II. Singer gives us a vivid portrait of Vienna when it was the center of European culture and new ideas, a culture that was both intensely Jewish and distinctly secular. Examining this culture and its fate forces Singer to confront one of the foundations of his own thought: How much can we rely on universal values and human reason?

    ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Atheism and Resurrection or the Timeless Power of Universal Values
    At the end of Peter Singers commemorative book for his grandfather there is a philosophical question: Given an atheist and naturalist worldview - am I able to do something good for a dead person by devoting my time to her thinking and by writing a book about and for her. Yes, says Singer, though a little bit restrained, we can do something for the dead by standing up for the values we share with them even if they unfortunately can't look down on us from a cloud.
    That's after a bit less than 300 pages in which life, thinking and time of David Oppenheim have been resurrected in our mind's eye. The simple style of this biography almost appears a little bit clumsy at the beginning (as one can't help to compare it with the stringent and brilliant way of argumentation in Singers philosophical treatises). But it soon turns out as the right way to bring us close to the time between Belle Epoque and Nazi desaster and to the inevitability of the described personal fates. We are even enabled to understand what seems ununderstandable from a modern point of view: that the intellectuals of the time got infected by the excitement for war in great numbers at the beginning of World War I. David Oppenheim didn't have the distance of the few either. He was to well assimilated to his society to gain independence in this situation (as did for example the extraordinary Bertrand Russell). But changed into an opponent of war by the cruel mass killing on the battlefields he later teaches his students the values of humanity. When Nazism takes over Austria he finds one reason after the other not to use the window of opportunity for fleeing overseas. He learns English but isn't really able nor willing to cut his deep rootedness in german culture. The younger generation of the jewish family and many straight thinking, less educated people of his own generation draw the right conclusions from the escalating humiliations of every day life und pursue flight consequently. But the scholarly man neglects repeated warnings by his students und holds himself back by a multitude of reflections (might we have done the same?): he trusts in his status as a decorated former front-line army officer, fears to become a burden on his already emigrated children, hesitates to abandon his daughter's parents-in-law, doesn't want to loose his beloved library. Until it's to late and disease and unlucky historical development make it impossible to escape. Death in Theresienstadt. His wife, the grandmother, survives. There is a shadow on how high the moral price might have been which had to be paid fo that. Glorifying family history is not what Peter Singer intends, as he always wants to get to the bottom of things.
    Monument, memorial, history book, philosophical reflection - a fascinating book. It keeps the promise of David Oppenheims marriage which resounds in the title: "Pushing Time Away".

    5-0 out of 5 stars So much more than the title implies
    I bought this book because I am a long time fan of Peter Singer's work, and I am also very curious about the lost world of Jewish Vienna. I was pleased to find that this book offers not just a remarkable portrait of his grandfather, David Oppenheimer, but a fascinating look at the early days of psychoanalysis in Vienna. This is also an interesting read for anyone interested in Moravian (Czech) Jewish history, since Oppenheimer came from Brno. It may not be the kind of scholarly work which a previous reviewer had wished for, but for me, Singer'spresentationof his grandfather's wonderfully humanistic world view is clear and very moving.

    5-0 out of 5 stars well-crafted tribute
    Australian philosopher Peter Singer, now a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, has written a thoughtful, well-researched portrait of his grandfather, David Oppenheim, who perished in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943. "We all know that six million Jews died," writes Singer in the Prologue, "but that is a mind-numbing statistic. I have a chance to portray one of them as an individual."

    His grandfather was a classical scholar in Vienna, a teacher of Greek and Latin at a prestigious gymnasium (high school), and an active participant in the city's psychoanalytic circles as a collaborator, then critic of Sigmund Freud, and a friend and supporter of Alfred Adler, the first of Freud's colleagues to defect from his inner circle over basic disagreements about psychoanalytic theory.

    Oppenheim's wife, Amalie (a math and physics scholar in her own right) was also sent to Theresienstadt, but she survived, the only one of Singer's four grandparents to do so. She moved to Australia in 1946, the year Singer was born, and lived with his family for nine years until her death in 1955. Singer went on to study philosophy at Oxford and teach at Monash University in Australia, but always in the background there was a cloud of sadness and silence that hung over his family's recent past. (On his mother's side he comes from a long line of rabbis stretching back to the seventeenth century.)

    His aunt's master's thesis about her father inspired Singer to learn more about his grandfather and write this book. Hecollected his grandfather's personal papers, letters between his grandparents before their marriage that he retrieved from his aunt's attic, and letters his grandparents wrote to his parents and aunt after they emigrated to Australia in 1938. Singer also travelled to Vienna to see where his grandparents lived and visit the school where his grandfather taught. He searched for additional pertinent information in the Austrian archives, interviewed his grandfather's surviving students, and went to Theresienstadt to see for himself where his grandfather died. Singer believed that reading through his grandfather's vast collection of writings in German, most of them in longhand that was difficult to read, would be "to undo, in some infinitely small but still quite palpable way, a wrong done by the Holocaust."

    The final part of the book describes the departure of the children to Australia in 1938 after the Anschluss, the illusory hope that life would somehow go on, the desperate efforts from faraway Melbourne to save the parents from the impeding catastrophe, and finally Theresienstadt. During his research Singer also learned what happened to his paternal grandparents: the Germans transported them to Lodz in Poland (after that they were probably gassed at Chelmno).

    Professor Singer's well-crafted tribute to his grandfather and the lost world of Jewish Vienna is a valuable contribution to Holocaust remembrance and mourning.

    --Charles Patterson, Ph.D., author of ETERNAL TREBLINKA: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust

    2-0 out of 5 stars The Missing Element
    An excellent and important story that needs to be told over and over again.But for those of us who use non-fiction books such as this for research as well, this book lacks a crucial element--an index.I could not recommend this book to someone researching information on the Holocaust because there is no way for someone to retrieve important information without laboriously searching page by page through the book.When will publishers learn what researchers and librarians know, a non-fiction book without an index is not complete?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling and moving memoir
    This is a compelling and frequently moving account of the author's grandparents' lives from the turn of the century in Vienna to the middle years of the twentieth century. The grandparents, David and Amalie Oppenheim, had both the good and bad fortune to live through some of the most interesting and tragic times of the last century. As young, educated, middle-class Jews living in Vienna at the beginning of the twentieth century, they experienced the last days of the Hapsburg empire, the intellectual currents of the time and place (including being part of Freud's circle), the first world war, the depression, anti-semitism, Nazism and the Holocaust, as well as the great intellectual achievements of Austro-German culture.

    The book is a fascinating account of the period, as well as the curious relationship between David and Amalie, whose homosexual feelings towards others seem to lead them into marriage and children of their own. The final chapters, describing post-Anschluss Vienna, the ghetto conditions in which they were forced to live, and finally Theresienstadt concentration camp are harrowing and moving. As a memoir rather than a history, the book is written well and reads easily; though there are references to other works, it is not in any way dull or academic. The author's frequent comparisons between his grandfather's way of thinking and his own are I feel a little forced, but this is only a minor quibble, especially when the humanity of both the author and the grandparents about whom he is writing is evident. Highly recommended.

    One book which Singer refers to frequently is Stefan Zweig's "The World of Yesterday", which I would also highly recommend to anyone interested in the period or subject matter. ... Read more

    16. Pushing Time Away: My Grandfather and the Tragedy of Jewish Vienna
    by Peter Singer
    Hardcover: 272 Pages (2004-07-15)
    list price: US$33.05 -- used & new: US$5.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1862076960
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    'What binds us pushes time away' wrote David Oppenheim to his future wife, Amalie Pollak, on March 24, 1905. Oppenheim, classical scholar, collaborator, then critic of Sigmund Freud, and friend and supporter of Alfred Adler, lived through the heights and depths of Vienna's twentieth-century intellectual and cultural history. He perished in obscurity at a Nazi concentration camp in 1943, separated from family and friends, leaving his grandson, the philosopher Peter Singer, without a chance to know him. Almost fifty years later Peter Singer set out to explore the life of the grandfather he never knew, and drawing on a wealth of documents and personal letters, makes startling discoveries. Combining touching family biography with thoughtful reflection on both personal and public questions we face today, Pushing Time Away captures critical moments in Europe's transition from Belle Epoque to the Great War and to the rise of Fascism and the coming of World War II. Singer gives us a vivid portrait of Vienna when it was the centre of European culture and new ideas, a culture that was both intensely Jewish and distinctly secular. Examining this culture and its fate forces Singer to confront ... Read more

    17. One World: The Ethics of Globalization, SecondEdition (The Terry Lectures Series)
    by Professor Peter Singer
    Paperback: 272 Pages (2004-03-11)
    list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0300103050
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    One of the world's most influential philosophers here considers the ethical issues surrounding globalization, showing how a global ethic rather than a nationalistic approach can provide illuminating answers to important problems. In a new preface, Peter Singer discusses how the recent Iraq war and its aftermath have changed the prospects for the ethical approach he advocates.Q: What was your original idea for the book?A: When people talk about globalization, they usually mean the lowering of barriers to free trade and the flow of investment.And they usually don't see these as ethical questions.I wanted to bring together several different issues that are also part of living in a more globalized world and show that they are, at their core, ethical questions.So as well as trade issues, I cover climate change, intervention across national borders to protect human rights, and aid from rich nations to poor ones.Q: Have world events in the past three years further shaped that idea and your arguments?A: Definitely.The attacks on 9/11 showed that even the mightiest power the world has never known is vulnerable to being attacked.But more significantly, the crisis over Iraq posed a choice between taking the path of international cooperation, and that of unilateral action.It was also a choice between the rule of law and the rule of force.Unfortunately, the United States made the wrong choice.Q: What do you hope the book will accomplish?A: I hope it will contribute to people seeing these questions as ethical issues and to looking at ethics from a more global-and therefore less national-perspective. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (20)

    3-0 out of 5 stars More about the politics of globalization
    This book has more of a political focus than an ethics focus.A serious shortcoming is the lack of appreciation for the Eastern perspective.There is no mention in the index of Buddha, Confucius, or Taoism.How can you consider globalization from a parochial perspective?I recommend this book by Canright: Achieve Lasting Happiness: Timeless Secrets to Transform Your Life."Achieve Lasting Happiness" proposes Confucian philosophy as a basis for universal ethics.Globalization will crush humanity unless there is a system of universal ethics as a counter balance to greed on a world-wide scope.

    1-0 out of 5 stars This guy gives me the creeps
    This book is the perfect example of how deluded left wing-intellectuals have become. With friends like this (and Chomsky, and Moore, and Gore) the left doesn't need any enemies.

    I recommend Why Globalization Works (Yale Nota Bene) instead. A solid overview from someone who actually understands how the world works.

    1-0 out of 5 stars POORLY WRITTEN BOOK
    Peter Singer, inspite of his poor usage of commas, tries to make the point that economics could out do and render politics small and mostly insignificant stave for adjustments of the Golden Straight Jacket.

    I think that a point on how economics and trade policies also works as a psuedo-war or carrot and stick type of negotiation fodder.Sanctions have long been used as a form of political tactic of agression or revenge but Singer fails to point this out.Rather he tries to portray everyone on the planet as being a bunch of scared sheep who are unable to control anything in this ocean of chaos that he calls Capatalism with no heart.

    Also, he explains the genisis of ethics as having congieled from mammal feelings and behaviors.He then goes on to explain how those mammal traits are disctint from our closest non-human relatives.How can he compare mammals to our closest non-human relatives?It is pure nonsense!Monkeys, pigs, dogs, horses and cattle are all mammals and are our closest non-human relatives!This guy is a MORON!

    Improving on that statement I will attack his stance on his "new ethic" that has spawned from our new technology and globalization.I shudder at the very idea that one, or a few, nations should impose their new found ethics onto contradictory morals, laws and ethics of smaller and less developed nations.For heavens sakes!

    I think that Singer is a poor poor man who is misguided and confused.I feel sympathy for him and for his readers.
    One atmosphere? What is he talking about here? Are CFC's for real?

    Well I guess there is no argument, scientifically, against Chlorofluorocarbons existing or being real.Peter Singer is talking about everyone shares the Atmosphere.What I disagree with him on is his comparison he used to point the blame of pollution at America.On page 20 he said that one of Britain's nuclear plants leaked waste into the north sea and ruined shellfish and lobsters (and probably regular fish TOO) for Ireland and Norway too.Norway got nuclear waste on its shores and when it took Britain to court for it, the "author" (like he could WRITE) tries to make the point that Kiribati could likewise sure America because its pollution caused global warming which then caused the ice caps to melt which then caused the sea levels to rise which THEN caused the sea to submerge Kiribati's mud homes and farms. Wow, I think that is a textbook example of the slippery slope fallacy and makes for one terrible comparison.Britain's nuclear pollution was preventable, an accident (?) and was directly traceable to Britain whereas America is NOT the world's sole producer of pollution and there for is NOT solely responsible like Britain was.
    God, I literally cannot read one page in this book without being outraged.I read this book with a pen and I do not need a bookmark for all I need to do is start reading where my comments in the margin stop.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Worth your time.
    I've read the pro's and con's of other reviews and would like to have a brief word with those considering this book as a future purchase.

    Looking at the good reviews, one I could easily give becuase I find them very agreeable, one finds the essence of the book, a global utilitarian ethical viewpoint. After browsing the negative reviews I find useful criticism gone too far. There is good substance to their points, but more often they seem to be thinking aloud rather than providing a useful review.

    My suggestion: If you have heard about this book or stumbled here by accident, buy this book. While there are always points of contention in the 'nitty-gritty' the essence of his thoughts are worth more than one read, and more than simple consideration. The world is a rapidly changing place and the four chapters presented in his book offer four distinct ways to view the globalization of mankind from an utilitarian ethical perspective. I admit my idealists leanings nevertheless if one doesn't agree with Singer's arguements, then there is no better place to start making counter-arguements. The book is easy to read in common vernacular and Singer gives a good overview of the backround to each chapter focus. You will be a better citizen of whichever state after reading this one.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Outdated in a Dynamic World
    While considered cutting edge at the time of publishing Singer's book "One World" simply doesn't go the distance a book should go in the dynamic world of today. Singer, basically, stops where essential liberal interests do which is a really bad thing for an ethicist to do. He doesn't get into a really nitty-gritty stuff such as seeing the consequences of leisurely, short-term benefits oriented political action as ultimately damaging for the system. By not going the distance Singer is cutting the branch on which he is sitting. Do not read. ... Read more

    18. Marx (A Brief Insight)
    by Peter Singer
    Hardcover: 160 Pages (2010-01-05)
    list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.32
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    Asin: 1402768885
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Peter Singer identifies the central vision that unifies Marx’s thought, enabling us to grasp Marx’s views as a whole. Singer sees him as a philosopher primarily concerned with human freedom, rather than as an economist or a social scientist. He explains alienation, historical materialism, the economic theory of Capital, and Marx’s ideas of communism in plain English, and concludes with an assessment of Marx’s legacy.

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    Customer Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
    Probably no name turns off more Americans than "Marx".That's unfortunate, because the 20th century communism associated with Karl Marx is not really a fair representation of Marx's ideas.Not that Marx wasn't wrong on a number of key issues, such as thinking that eliminating private property would produce true individual freedom.But Marx didn't have much use for government, so it's ironic that he's associated with a Leninist-Stalinist model that attempted to put all aspects of life under government control.

    Besides Marx the political revolutionary who felt compelled to correct the dreadful condition of the 19th century working class, there's the Marx who's regarded as one of the founders of sociology. "Consciousness does not determine life, but life determines consciousness."(C.f. the then-current Enlightenment view that every decision we make can be as rational as we want it to be, and thus every individual is responsible for his own state in life.)

    But on to the review. There's a ton of books about Marx available, as well as pounds of Marx's own writings, so why read this book? Because Prof Singer has written a very readable, very understandable description of Marx's thinking:contradictions, mistakes, and all. And done it concisely.

    Prof Singer is sympathetic to Marx the philosopher -- no philosopher ever gets it all right -- and less sympathetic to Marx the economist and "scientific historian". But Singer presents it all in a very well organized fashion, with lots of references to Marx's writings, so that the reader can easily follow along with the main ideas as well as continue on his own.

    Personally, I think Singer is too harsh towards Marx the economist, e.g. Marx's prediction that a capitalist system must eventually collapse.Whereas Marx recognized that government would side with the ruling class, i.e., the capitalists, he couldn't have predicted that government would grow powerful enough to bail out the economic system whenever it was near collapse.I doubt if any 19th century economist could have guessed that. Marx also failed to note, as Karl Polanyi did much later, that the general public would require government to restrict the worst activities of the capitalists, e.g. child labor, monopolies, pollution, near-zero wage rates.And this would make society more livable for workers -- thus postponing, perhaps permanently, capitalism's end.Singer, interestingly, shows that Marx may have overstated his case intentionally at times, in order to have more effect. We can certainly see that among modern writers, who know that the more extreme the statements they make, the more attention they get and the more books they sell.

    Despite the things that Marx got wrong, he got many things right:the boom-bust cycle of capitalism, the alienation of factory workers from their work, the need for capitalists to find ever- wider markets, the growing disparity (though irregular) of income between capitalists and workers, the concentration of economic power into fewer and fewer hands, the influence of someone's economic situation upon the decisions he makes....A basic knowledge of Marx is really a prerequisite for understanding many of the issues and conflicts that we still deal with today. Prof Singer's book provides that introduction in the most easily-digestible form that I've seen.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great
    item was exactly as described and in great condition...arrived in a timely fashion, thanks!! A+

    5-0 out of 5 stars A superb introduction to Marx's thought
    This is a remarkably clear introduction to the thought of Karl Marx.I was a little dubious when I picked it up (I read 3 or 4 of the Very Short Introduction books each year), since most of my knowledge of Singer is through his work either on Animal Ethics, Utilitarianism, or his critique of George W. Bush.In fact, I became a vegetarian 25 years ago after reading Singer and Gandhi at the same time.Marx, though, is a horse of a different color.I was simply not confident that he would write as well on the founder of Marxism as well as he did on practical ethics.If anything, he turned out to write even more clearly on Marx than anything else I've read.

    The problem with Marx is that he wrote so much, much of it in advanced draft form, that one can extract several different Marx's from his pages.It isn't that he is inconsistent that his thinking is constantly in flux as he considers one or another aspect of the issues surrounding capitalism.There truly is no final version of Marx's thought, but rather interim versions.The various books and manuscripts almost serve as commentaries on the other books and manuscripts.The trick is to extract the core of what Marx thought without unduly distorting his work as a whole and without reducing him to a caricature.Singer does a great job of highlighting major themes and trends in Marx's thought while not losing the sense of the difficult of determining with finality precisely what Marx wrote.

    The importance of a book like this cannot be overstressed.Anyone who knows anything at all about Marx knows that he would have been appalled at the Communist revolutions of the twentieth century.As Singer rightly points out, Marx would unquestionably have been a victim of one of the purges.Whatever complicity Marx had with the excesses of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao is tenuous and debatable (though given that all three cited Marx as their inspiration means that Marx's responsibility for what followed can be legitimately discussed, even if he is exonerated).Not everything he wrote about Capitalism (a term he invented) has proven to be true (though a great deal that he wrote remains shockingly relevant).Those who in 1989 delightedly proclaimed that history had refuted Marx got it all wrong.The fact is that all of us today, even political and economic conservatives, have had our consciousness completely altered by Marx.Nearly all history is done today with unexamined assumptions that we took from Marx.No one would undertake a study of any historical topic without a consideration of the socio-economic factors involved.Sociology, philosophy, political science, economics, and virtually every subject one can consider has been deeply informed by Marxist ideas.Those proclaiming Marx the loser in 1989 got it all wrong:he had won way before then.He has shaped the modern mind as fully as Freud, Martin Luther, Newton, or Darwin.We think through Marxist categories, even when we oppose him.

    This is just one reason why it is so important to understand what he was about.There are many other very good elementary intros to Marx's thought.Robert Heilbroner's book on Marx is a great one.Ernest Mandel has an excellent short introduction to Marx's economic theory.But I would put Singer's book up there with those.If you are looking for a clear first introduction to Marx, you can do far worse than this.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Last Prophet?
    Because I like short books, I have tried several of the "Very Short Introduction..." series.I have been unable to finish any of them.

    But Peter Singer is a world famous thinker.He is probably best known for writing Animal Liberation, a book that jump started the animal rights movement (which I haven't read).I have read Singer's critique of George W Bush (The President of Good and Evil) and liked it well enough.So I felt Singer's study of Marx was worth giving the series another shot.

    A discussion of as controversial a figure as Karl Marx should come with some forewarning to the reader about the pre-conceptions of the author.I came to Singer's book with a low opinion of the relevance of Marx's philosophy to our time, but with the understanding that Marx may have seemed more relevant to an earlier age.I have never read any Marx directly (and have no immediate intention of rectifying that gap in my education - one has only so much time but an endless supply of reading material), although I have probably encountered at least his major ideas in various forms.

    Reading Singer's book, I came out even less impressed with Marxist thought than I was when I started.I always knew the Marxist project depended on the philosophy of G.W.F Hegel (1770--1831), but I was ignorant of the gory details.As it turns out, gory they are.

    Hegel's philosophy was based on a quest by a metaphysical entity, Mind, to discover itself.This quest was the history of humankind, which Hegel, somewhat immodestly, thought culminated in himself."When Mind, manifested in the mind of Hegel, grasps its own nature, the last stage of history has been reached." (p. 39)

    Because this was absurd, some of Hegel's disciples tried to transform the Hegelian concept into something more palatable.History was still a quest, but not *that* kind of quest.For Marx "labor in the sense of free productive activity is the essence of human life." (pp. 35-36).In a capitalistic society, laborers produce what they are paid to produce, not what they want to produce.Consequentially, they are "alienated from the product of their own labor".Being alienated from the "essence of human life" is self evidently wrong, and so history is a quest of overcoming this alienation.

    Because no matter how much you are being paid for your labor, you are still alienated from your essence by working for pay, the only solution, the inevitable solution, is the abolition of the Capitalistic order.History has "unconscious tool[s]... bringing about that revolution" (quotes on p. 56)."Communism . . . is the genuine resolution of the antagonism between man and nature and between man and man; it is the true resolution of the conflict between existence and essence, objectification and self affirmation, freedom and necessity, individual and species. It is the riddle of history solved and knows itself as this solution" (quoted on p. 37).

    Why anyone who is not a thrall to Hegel's philosophy should think that history is a quest and that human life has an essence is a mystery to me.Once you remove the metaphysics, all Marx seems to be saying is that he does not approve of waged labor.Well, so what?Why should anyone care about the preferences of one nineteenth century German intellectual?

    Singer's account attributes to Marx so problematic a view that I suspect Singer may have missed something*.According to Singer, Marx claimed that the gains of productivity are all accumulated to the Capitalist.When productivity rises (as with the invention of new labor saving technology), the same amount of inputs (and specifically labor) can produce higher outputs.Consequentially, there is a profit.According to Singer, Marx believed that competition between workers would drive down the wage they would receive to subsistence level - meaning that they gain nothing from the increase in productivity (because they would be paid the same wage - subsistence wage - whether there was a productivity increase or not).

    But this clearly is not the end of the story.Just as competition between workers would reduce the gains from productivity increase to the laborer, so would competition between capitalists reduce their gains.The gains would pass on to the consumer.And as most consumers are workers, rather than Capitalists, the end benefactor is the proletariat.

    The evidence is all around us.A century ago, a car was a luxury reserved for the richest of the rich.Today, a low wage worker in a middle income country can own a car that the millionaires of yesteryear could only dream of.

    In the end, Singer tries to salvage Marx by emphasizing the parts of Marx's thought that are still worthwhile.There's not much.Marx argues that because in a capitalistic society everyone makes their own choices individually, the end result is a society that no one person would have chosen.Singer calls this a "penetrating insight" (p. 92).It is nothing of the sort.No society could ever be to everyone's tastes.Were it run by a dictator, society would be chosen by one person but not by everyone else; even a democratic society is chosen by a coalition of sections of the people - so it does not correspond exactly to anyone's tastes.And this is before we've mentioned the law of unintended consequences...

    Marx's other "lasting contribution to modern thought" was "shatter[ing] the assumption that our intellectual and spiritual lives are entirely independent of our economic existence".I doubt such assumption was ever widely held, and anyway "his own view of human nature is false. Human nature is not as pliable as he believed." (pp. 93-94).

    I suspect Marx's main achievements were rhetorical rather than intellectual.Again and again, Marx managed to shape public discourse not with his ideas, but with his rhetoric.Phrases like "religion is opium for the masses" and "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" are still quoted widely today.And of course, "workers of the world, unite" is a soaring call to arms.

    In The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory Judge Richard Posner distinguishes between academic philosophers and moral entrepreneurs.The latter influence not by tight reasoning and meeting academic standards, but by carrying out their message to the people.They agitate the masses, inflame emotion,rekindle the spirit.Perhaps Marx was not a philosopher, but a Prophet.

    *29 August 2009 update: At the urging of one of the commentators, I've tackled Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy.Schumpeter concurs that Marx has made this argument.One point for Singer.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Cute.
    Cute little gem.Easy enough.A bit boring, but maybe that's Marx's fault and not Singer's.The last chapter is the best: a great overview of what Marx got right and what he got wrong. ... Read more

    19. Refuting Peter Singer's Ethical Theory: The Importance of Human Dignity
    by Susan Krantz
    Hardcover: 152 Pages (2002-01-30)
    list price: US$81.95 -- used & new: US$55.73
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0275970833
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    Krantz examines Peter Singer's "principle of the equal consideration of the interests of all animals" with a view to showing that its current popularity and possible wholesale adoption for the future threaten human values in a variety of ways. Topics include abortion and infanticide, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. ... Read more

    20. A Companion to Ethics (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy)
    Paperback: 592 Pages (1993-08-27)
    list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$17.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0631187855
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    In this volume, some of today's most distinguished philosophers survey the whole field of ethics, from its origins, through the great ethical traditions, to theories of how we ought to live, arguments about specific ethical issues, and the nature of ethics itself. The book can be read straight through from beginning to end; yet the inclusion of a multi-layered index, coupled with a descriptive outline of contents and bibliographies of relevant literature, means that the volume also serves as a work of reference, both for those coming afresh to the study of ethics and for readers already familiar with the subject. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Overview of Normative Ethics
    I have used this text to teach ethics several times, and I will continue to do so. It has concise and clear articles by leading philosophers on a wide range of subjects, from the evolution and anthropology of ethics, to the various ethical theories, to meta-ethics and topics in ethics. Not only do I use it to teach, I use it as a quick handbook and reference when I need to refresh myself about specific arguments and ideas in ethics.

    I hope that Peter Singer will bring a new edition to market sooner rather than later. But even if he does not, the current edition will continue to hold-up well. And even where one prefers to assign (primarily) primary texts to one's students in introductory ethics, this volume can be precisely what its title suggests - a great companion.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction, some defects
    I found this book to be a great introduction to all aspects of ethics. It leaves no area untouched: everything from Buddhist ethics to deontology, consequentialism, virtue theory, the nature of morality, and much much more is covered here. Indeed, I would say that anyone who wants a survey of this area of philosophy need look no further.

    But the book has several glaring flaws. Notably, it appears that some of the choices of essays were slightly biased. A case in point: the two essays on comtemporary deontology and consequentialism. The essay on deontology appears to not be written by an actual deontologist, and the author spent most of the essay bringing up silly objections that even I, as a first year undergraduate philosophy major, could answer. This is in stark contrast to the essay on consequentialism, written in a tone that barely escapes arrogance by its end.

    There is nothing wrong with having a die-hard supporter of consequentialism write an essay introducing people to the topic. If this book were better, all of the essays would've been written with just that goal in mind. To pick essays not written by people who actually subscribe to the ethical theory in question is simply poor editing, because often the writer reveals her ignorance. This reduces the quality of the book, instead of giving each ethical theory the best possible promulgation. Indeed, it's not as if deontology is so unpopular that Singer couldn't have found one to write about it.

    If anything, a better choice of essays would've made this book more useful than it actually is. Indeed, one of the interesting things about the essay on "universal perscriptivism" by R.M. Hare, was that the table of contents actually claims that the article is written by the theory's originator and best spokesman. If all the essays were written by their respective theory's "best spokesman," than this book would have 5 stars.

    Apart from these glaring flaws, the book remains a well edited companion to ethics. There is coverage (even if sometimes poor) given to almost every possible ethical theory, the history of ethics, applied ethics (just war, business ethics, etc.), and various ethical views (i.e., realism, naturalism, relativism, etc.). Anyone interested in a breif overview of the entire field of morality should start here.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My review is a single-sentence one.
    The selection of the articles in this book is excellent: not too deep in any of the subjects and gives a wide range overlook on the field of ethics, I read it with eas and joy. ... Read more

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