I had an interesting lecture today in which Peter Singer came up. Singer is an interesting philosopher in so far as he is, like me, a utilitarian and a consequentialist, but I nonetheless find myself from time to time in conflict with him. Today I seek to identify where precisely Singer and I differ, and why one should agree with me rather than with him.
Over the last couple of weeks I have found myself engaged three times in discussions about the ethical standing of the animal. In the first instance, the question was one of vegetarianism, the second was one of animal testing, and the third was of the validity of antihumanism, specifically the notion that human beings should diminish both in number and in environmental impact for the benefit of animals. It seems that the animal liberation movement grows stronger and more politically relevant, so it is time to evaluate its central proposition–that animals are non-human persons with the same ethical standing to that of human beings. To answer this question, we must investigate what precisely it means to be a person.