If you have never read Peter Singer’s indispensable and highly influential article, “Famine, Affluence and Morality (1972),” I recommend taking the time to do so. And if you have read it, but only the original version, you may want to read the ‘Revised Edition,’ particularly the ‘Postscript.’ You will find it illuminating. This article is still essential reading, and, like a good movie, play, or work of art, worth revisiting again and again. You can find the Revised Edition with Postscript online HERE.
“We seldom ask, ‘Why should I believe what I see to be true?’ but we frequently ask, ‘Why should I do what I see to be right?’
“It is easy to reply that the question is futile, since it could only be answered by a reference to some other recognized principle of right conduct, and the question might just as well be asked as regards that again, and so on. But still we do ask the question widely and continually, and therefore this demonstration of its futility is not completely satisfactory: we require besides some explanation of its persistency. Continue reading
LAST YEAR IN TAIWAN Peter Singer had an extended dialogue with the Buddhist scholar, feminist and animal advocate Shih Chaohwei. They exchanged views on many ethical issues, finding both similarities and differences between Chaohwei’s Buddhist approach and Singer’s utilitarian one. The dialogue was recorded, and their plan is that it will eventually become a book, but they will first continue the dialogue over email before finalizing the text.
On the 4th of May 2007, Shih Chaohwei was awarded the 48th Chinese Literature and Arts Medal for her outstanding contributions to cultural debates. She was also awarded the International Outstanding Women in Buddhism Medal on March 6th, 2009 and The Person of the Year Prize for social movements on December 28th, 2012. Together with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, she has been appointed as the spiritual mentor of INEB, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, founded by the renowned Thai Buddhist reformer, Sulak Sivaraksa. Continue reading