Same-sex marriage? Euthanasia? Child's play issues in the avant-garde philosophy of Peter Singer, the "most influential" philosopher alive.
Parental warning: This article refers to infanticide and some abnormal sexual activities.
PRINCETON, N.J. Many Christians and conservatives are still celebrating this month's reelection of George W. Bush, and that's a fine thing to do. But a deeper cultural current rolls on, and its representative here in this blue state is Peter Singer.
Many readers may be saying, "Peter who?" -- but The New York Times, explaining how his views trickle down through media and academia to the general populace, noted that "no other living philosopher has had this kind of influence." The New England Journal of Medicine said he has had "more success in effecting changes in acceptable behavior" than any philosopher since Bertrand Russell. The New Yorker called him the "most influential" philosopher alive.
Don't expect Peter Singer to be quoted heavily on the issue that roiled the Nov. 2 election, same-sex marriage. That for him is intellectual child's play, already logically decided, and it's time to move on to polyamory. While politicians debate the definition of marriage between two people, Mr. Singer argues that any kind of "fully consensual" sexual behavior involving two people or 200 is ethically fine.
When we had lunch a month after our initial interview and I read back his answers to him, he said he would be "concerned about a society where the role of some women was to breed children for that purpose," but he stood by his statements. He also reaffirmed that it would be ethically OK to kill 1-year-olds with physical or mental disabilities, although ideally the question of infanticide would be "raised as soon as possible after birth."
Read the entire article on the World Magazine website (new window will open).