🎧 | Peter Singer and Yascha Mounk discuss morality, utilitarianism, and altruism.
Thank you. Appreciated this.
This article encapsulates a thought I always have. In beginner philosophy classes, utilitarianism always gets a bad rap, because it easy to identify absurdities in the naive utilitarian calculus, but history teaches us that the utilitarians have consistently been ahead of the curve. Reading Bentham arguing against the persecution of gays in the 18th Century is eye-popping.
Mr. Singer states:
"Bentham and [later] utilitarians have been against slavery, they've been for women's rights. They've been for the rights of gay people long before anybody else dared to even talk about that..."
Is there a specific article that addresses gay rights/feminism vis a vis utilitarians? I saw the on on marriage....but was curious about the gay rights one.
This was a wonderful discussion. I would like to address a question to Professor Singer. I have always felt that my obligations to others are in some sense influenced by proximity, that I do have more responsibility to strangers in Trenton than I do to those in Chad not only because I can influence change in Trenton more readily but also because Trenton is much more a part of my immediate community. I realize that this is not a view for which you probably have much sympathy but it leads me to ask how you feel about the argument raised that no Americans should be getting booster shots when those doses could have a much more profound impact in Africa. I suspect that a good utilitarian would find that a very convincing assertion and yet the cost of no one getting boosters in the United States would certainly lift the death toll here.
To me, this kind of dilemma points to the limits of utilitarianism as a philosophy but my question is simply how does a good utilitarian approach this choice?