Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What Ever You Do,
Don't Forget The Time


My friend PapiJoe over at Marlowe's Shade, notes that Peter Singer, who holds the Philosophy chair at Princeton University, recently was named one of the world's top 100 thinkers by Time Magazine. So, let's see what the guy is thinking about:


He argues that in order to have an interest in staying alive, you have to be a thinking, self-aware being and have an understanding of yourself as a being which endures through time. Following philosophical tradition, he calls such beings "persons," in order, as he says in his 1993 book, Practical Ethics, "to capture those elements of the popular sense of 'human being' that are not covered by 'member of the species Homo sapiens.'" Only persons, he says, can be said to have an interest in living and a right not to be killed; non-persons, by definition, cannot.

Obviously, wherever Singer's ideas are accepted as the basis for policy, it becomes a vitally important thing to be seen as a person. Infants, for example, are seen as non-persons.


Read the rest over at Marlowe's Shade.