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In this book of brief essays, Singer applies his controversial ways of thinking to issues like climate change, extreme poverty, animals, abortion, euthanasia, human genetic selection, sports doping, the sale of kidneys, the ethics of high-priced art, and ways of increasing happiness. Singer asks whether chimpanzees are people, smoking should be outlawed, or consensual sex between adult siblings should be decriminalised, and he reiterates his case against the idea that all human life is sacred, applying his arguments to some recent cases in the news. In addition, he explores, in an easily accessible form, some of the deepest philosophical questions, such as whether anything really matters and whether the pale blue dot that is our planet has any value. The collection also includes some more personal reflections, like Singer’s thoughts on one of his favourite activities, surfing, and an unusual suggestion for starting a family conversation over a holiday feast.
Provocative and original, these essays will challenge—and possibly change—your beliefs about a wide range of real-world ethical questions.
‘Peter Singer’s status as a man of principles and towering intellect—a philosopher extraordinaire, if you will—is unrivalled in Australia.’
‘Peter Singer is a public intellectual par excellence.‘
‘Peter Singer may be the most controversial philosopher alive; he is certainly among the most influential.’
‘Lucidly conceived and written, the brief essays in Ethics in the Real World attest to Singer’s enduring facility for wise, clear-headed enquiry into some of the most pressing issues we face. It is not a manifesto for utilitarianism, but a convincing case for philosophy’s continued engagement with ethical questions that matter in the real world.’
‘I’d recommend Ethics in the Real World for reading at relaxed weekend breakfasts…These pieces are beaut conversation starters about topics of interest to everyone’