Peter Singer's Views on Infanticide
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This paper criticizes Peter Singer's views on infanticide in "Practical Ethics". Singer believes that children should not be considered people until they have existed outside the mother's womb for at least a month and that physicians are morally justified in killing disabled infants. The paper considers this a disturbingly utilitarian approach that weighs human life on the basis of how useful and convenient it is to society and to those who will care for it. The paper claims that this approach offers an intellectual justification for the Nazis' behavior in WWII. At its most dangerous, the paper concludes, Singer's concept of the utility of infanticide may unjustly allow people to determine who should live - and who should die.
From the Paper:"In our western culture, we are very often taught that all human life is precious and that the lives of the very young are particularly precious - not least of all because they represent the future. Controversial ethicist Peter Singer, however, feels otherwise. Specifically, Singer has long held the view that children should not be considered people until they have existed outside the mother's womb for at least a month (thirty days) and that physicians are morally justified in killing some infants "on the spot" if those infants are disabled. In Singer's estimation, are not self-aware (therefore not human) and their lives are certainly of no greater value - actually of lesser value - than that of dumb animals like the chimpanzee or dog (Klusendorf, para.1; Singer, 122-123). Singer proceeds to argue that infants are not rational, self-conscious beings with a desire to live. Indeed, if killing an infant child (most especially a disabled one) will increase the happiness of other parties (principally the parents but, really, anyone who might stand to gain from the death of the infant) than taking the child's life is permissible; it is, in short, a profoundly utilitarian approach that weighs human life on the basis of how useful (and how "convenient") it is to society and to those who will care for it. As a final addendum, Singer insists that infanticide is only objectionable if its commission would bring about unhappiness to the parents (Klusendorf, para.5-8). It is a stunning moral view and a deeply troubling one."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Klusendorf, Scott. "Death with a Happy Face: Peter Singer's Bold Defense of Infanticide." Christian Research Institute. 2001. CRI: Christian Research Institute. 26 Feb. 2007 <http://www.equip.org/free/DD801.pdf>
- Singer, Peter. "Practical Ethics", 1st Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.
Cite this Argumentative Essay:
Peter Singer's Views on Infanticide (2008, March 06) Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/argumentative-essay/peter-singer-views-on-infanticide-101932/
"Peter Singer's Views on Infanticide" 06 March 2008. Web. 18 January. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/argumentative-essay/peter-singer-views-on-infanticide-101932/>