Peter Singer quotes

  • All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Encouragement #Animal #Equality

  • I don't think there's much point in bemoaning the state of the world unless there's some way you can think of to improve it. Otherwise, don't bother writing a book; go and find a tropical island and lie in the sun.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Art #Lying #Book

  • If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his or her own ends, how can it entitle humans to exploit non-humans?
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Doe #Use

  • Hebrew word for "charity" tzedakah, simply means "justice" and as this suggests, for Jews, giving to the poor is no optional extra but an essential part of living a just life.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Mean #Giving #Justice

  • People tend to care about dogs because they generally have more experience with dogs as companions; but other animals are as capable of suffering as dogs are. Few people feel sympathy for rats. Yet rats are intelligent animals, and there can be no doubt that rats are capable of suffering and do suffer from countless painful experiments performed on them. If the army were to stop experiments on dogs and switch to rats instead, we should not be any less concerned.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Dog #Army #Animal

  • Becoming a vegan is a sure way of completely avoiding participation in the abuse of farmed animals. Vegans are a living demonstration of the fact that we do not need to exploit animals for food.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Abuse #Way

  • Dolphins are social mammals, capable of enjoying their lives. They form close bonds with other members of their group.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Groups #Dolphins #Mammals

  • Animal factories are one more sign of the extent to which our technological capacities have advanced faster than our ethics.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Vegan #Ethics

  • Personal purity isn’t really the issue. Not supporting animal abuse – and persuading others not to support it – is.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Issues #Support

  • The Internet, like the steam engine, is a technological breakthrough that changed the world.
    -- Peter Singer

    #World #Internet #Steam Engines

  • Were we incapable of empathy – of putting ourselves in the position of others and seeing that their suffering is like our own – then ethical reasoning would lead nowhere. If emotion without reason is blind, then reason without emotion is impotent.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Empathy #Suffering #Emotion

  • Philosophy ought to question the basic assumptions of the age. Thinking through, critically and carefully, what most of us take for granted is, I believe, the chief task of philosophy, and the task that makes philosophy a worthwhile activity.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Philosophy #Believe #Thinking

  • Sometimes animals may suffer more because of their more limited understanding. If, for instance, we are taking prisoners in wartime we can explain to them that although they must submit to capture, search, and confinement, they will not otherwise be harmed and will be set free at the conclusion of hostilities. If we capture wild animals, however, we cannot explain that we are not threatening their lives. A wild animal cannot distinguish an attempt to overpower and confine from an attempt to kill; the one causes as much terror as the other.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Understanding #Suffering

  • There has been opposition to experimenting on animals for a long time. This opposition has made little headway because experimenters, backed by commercial firms that profit by supplying laboratory animals and equipment, have been able to convince legislators and the public that opposition comes from uninformed fanatics who consider the interests of animals more important than the interests of human beings.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Long #Important

  • The most callous, stupid things were done just because regulations required them...It was not until 1983, for example, that U.S. federal agencies stated that substances known to be caustic irritants such as lye, ammonia, and oven cleaners, did not need to be tested on the eyes of conscious rabbits.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Stupid #Eye #Animal

  • As for cages themselves, an ordinary citizen who kept dogs in similar conditions for their entire lives would risk prosecution for cruelty. A pig producer who keeps an animal of comparable intelligence in this manner, however, is more likely to be rewarded with a tax concession or, in some countries, a direct government subsidy.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Country #Dog #Animal

  • An animal experiment cannot be justifiable unless the experiment is so important that the use of a brain-damaged human would be justifiable.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Brain #Important

  • There is a growing movement called effective altruism. It's important because it combines both the heart and the head.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Heart #Important #Movement

  • Today, if you have an Internet connection, you have at your fingertips an amount of information previously available only to those with access to the world's greatest libraries - indeed, in most respects what is available through the Internet dwarfs those libraries, and it is incomparably easier to find what you need.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Library #Needs #World

  • The notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Sacred #Life Is #Medieval

  • Can we really believe that we are living a good life, an ethically decent life if we don't do anything serious to help reduce poverty around the world and help save the lives of children or adults who are likely to die if we don't increase the amount of aid we are giving.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Children #Good Life #Believe

  • We are, quite literally, gambling with the future of our planet- for the sake of hamburgers
    -- Peter Singer

    #Gambling #Hamburgers #Sake

  • Scholars have long dreamed of a universal library containing everything that has ever been written.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Long #Library #Scholar

  • At the descriptive level, certainly, you would expect different cultures to develop different sorts of ethics and obviously they have; that doesn't mean that you can't think of overarching ethical principles you would want people to follow in all kinds of places.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Mean #Thinking #People

  • If zoos are like arks, then rare animals are like passengers on a voyage of the damned, never to find a port that will let them dock or a land in which they can live in peace. The real solution, of course, is to preserve the wild nature that created these animals and has the power to sustain them. But if it is really true that we are inevitably moving towards a world in which mountain gorillas can survive only in zoos, then we must ask whether it is really better for them to live in artificial environments of our design than not to be born at all.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Zoos #Real #Moving

  • Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. Sexists violate the principle of equality by favoring the interests of their own sex. Similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Sex #Animal #Race

  • The future of the world depends on how well we meet it.
    -- Peter Singer

    #World #Wells

  • We should aim for our children to be good people, and to live ethical lives that manifest concern for others as well as for themselves.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Children #People #Ethical

  • When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed. The loss of happy life for the first infant is outweighed by the gain of happier life for the second. Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would, according to the total view, be right to kill him.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Loss #Happy Life #Views

  • Torturing a human being is almost always wrong, but it is not absolutely wrong.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Animal Rights #Humans

  • All the particular moral judgments we intuitively make are likely to derive from discarded religious systems, from warped views of sex and bodily functions, or from customs necessary for the survival of the group in social and economic circumstances that now lie in the distant past.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Religious #Sex #Lying

  • Of course, infanticide needs to be strictly legally controlled and rare - but it should not be ruled out, any more than abortion.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Abortion #Needs #Should

  • If they [animals] were really to get the equal consideration that I believe they should, we wouldn't have commercial animal production in this country.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Country #Believe #Animal

  • Unfortunately for ethical egoism, the claim that we will all be better off if every one of us does what is in his or her own interest is incorrect. This is shown by what are known as "prisoner's dilemma" situations, which are playing an increasingly important role in discussions of ethical theory... At least on the collective level, therefore, egoism is self-defeating - a conclusion well brought out by Parfit in his aforementioned Reasons and Persons.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Self #Important #Roles

  • Remember that not everyone is as strong as you are. Be mindful of human weakness, and of the fact that it may be more important, in the long run, to get many people taking steps in the right direction than to have fewer achieving the ideal.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Running #Strong #Long

  • We don't usually think of what we eat as a matter of ethics. Stealing, lying, hurting people - these acts are obviously relevant to our moral character. In ancient Greece and Rome, ethical choices about food were considered at least as significant as ethical choices about sex.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Hurt #Sex #Lying

  • The traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological and demographic developments.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Views #Progress #Development

  • Suppose I grant that pigs and dogs are self-aware to some degree, and do have thoughts about things in the future. That would provide some reason for thinking it intrinsically wrong to kill them - not absolutely wrong, but perhaps quite a serious wrong. Still, there are other animals - chickens maybe, or fish - who can feel pain but don't have any self-awareness or capacity for thinking about the future. For those animals, you haven't given me any reason why painless killing would be wrong, if other animals take their place and lead an equally good life.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Dog #Pain #Good Life

  • My view is different from this, only to the extent that if a decision is taken, by the parents and doctors, that it is better that a baby should die, I believe it should be possible to carry out that decision, not only by withholding or withdrawing life-support - which can lead to the baby dying slowly from dehydration or from an infection - but also by taking active steps to end the baby's life swiftly and humanely
    -- Peter Singer

    #Baby #Believe #Taken

  • By ceasing to rear and kill animals for food, we can make so much extra food available for humans that, properly distributed, it would eliminate starvation and malnutrition from this planet. Animal Liberation is Human Liberation too.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Planets #Liberation

  • To turn the other cheek is to teach would-be cheats that cheating pays.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Life #Cheating #Pay

  • If penicillin had been judged by its toxicity to guinea pigs, it might never have been used by man.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Men #Animal #Pigs

  • One thing is certain: you will find plenty of worthwhile things to do. You will not be bored, or lack fulfillment in your life. Most important of all, you will know that you have not lived and died for nothing, because you will have become part of the great tradition of those who have responded to the amount of pain and suffering in the universe by trying to make the world a better place.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Pain #Bored #Suffering

  • Pain and suffering are in themselves bad and should be prevented or minimized, irrespective of the race, sex, or species of the being that suffers. How bad a pain is depends on how intense it is and how long it lasts, but pain of the same intensity and duration are equally bad, whether felt by humans or animals.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Sex #Pain #Animal

  • So far as this argument is concerned nonhuman animals and infants and retarded humans are in the same category; and if we use this argument to justify experiments on nonhuman animals we have to ask ourselves whether we are also prepared to allow experiments on human infants and retarded adults; and if we make a distinction between animals and these humans, on what basis can we do it, other than a bare-faced - and morally indefensible - preference for members of our own species?
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Adults #Use

  • What is there about the notion of a person, at law, that makes every living member of the species Homo sapiens a person, irrespective of their mental capacities, but excludes every nonhuman animal - again, irrespective of their mental capacities?
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Law #Capacity

  • Even in the era of AIDS, sex raises no unique moral issues at all. Decisions about sex may involve considerations about honesty, concern for others, prudence, and so on, but there is nothing special about sex in this respect, for the same could be said of decisions about driving a car. (In fact, the moral issues raised by driving a car, both from an environmental and from a safety point of view, are much more serious than those raised by sex.)
    -- Peter Singer

    #Sex #Honesty #Unique

  • Cheats prosper until there are enough who bear grudges against them to make sure they do not prosper.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Bears #Grudge #Enough

  • Surely there will be some nonhuman animals whose lives, by any standards, are more valuable than the lives of some humans.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Standards #Valuable

  • Christianity is our foe. If animal rights is to succeed, we must destroy the Judeo-Christian religious tradition.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Christian #Religious #Animal

  • Ancient recipients of instant news probably couldn't do very much about it, for instance. Xerxes would still need three months to get his army together, and he might not get home for years.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Home #Army #Years

  • As we realize that more and more things have global impact, I think we're going to get people increasingly wanting to get away from a purely national interest.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Thinking #Impact #People

  • If we compare a severely defective human infant with a nonhuman animal, a dog or a pig, for example, we will often find the nonhuman to have superior capacities, both actual and potential, for rationality, self-consciousness, communication and anything else that can plausibly be considered morally significant.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Dog #Communication #Animal

  • Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Sometimes #Killing #Infant

  • In the past 20 years alone, it adds up to more death than were caused by all the civil and international wars adn government repression of the entire twentieth century, the century of Hitler and Stalin. How much would we give to prevent those horrors? Yet how little are we doing to prevent today's even larger toll and all the misery that it involves? I believe that if you read this book to the end, and look honestly and carefully at our situation, assessing both the facts and the ethical arguments, you will agree that we must act.
    -- Peter Singer

    #War #Believe #Book

  • If we are prepared to take the life of another being merely in order to satisfy our taste for a particular type of food, then that being is no more than a means to our end.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Mean #Order #Taste

  • What is faith? If you believe something because you have evidence for it, or rational argument, that is not faith. So faith seems to be believing something despite the absence of evidence or rational argument for it.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Faith #Believe #Argument

  • I do not believe that it could never be justifiable to experiment on a brain-damaged human.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Believe #Animal #Brain

  • Of all the arguments against voluntary euthanasia, the most influential is the slippery slope: once we allow doctors to kill patients, we will not be able to limit the killing to those who want to die.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Doctors #Want #Able

  • The principles of ethics come from our own nature as social, reasoning beings.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Principles #Ethics #Social

  • Since ancient times, philosophers have maintained that to strive too hard for one's own happiness is self-defeating.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Self #Philosopher #Ancient

  • There can be no brotherhood when some nations indulge in previously unheard of luxuries, while others struggle to stave off famine.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Struggle #Luxury #Brotherhood

  • Beginning to reason is like stepping onto an escalator that leads upward and out of sight. Once we take the first step, the distance to be traveled is independent of our will and we cannot know in advance where we shall end.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Distance #Independent #Sight

  • The capacity to reason is a special sort of capacity because it can lead us to places that we did not expect to go.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Special #Reason #Capacity

  • Everyday we act in ways that reflect our ethical judgements.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Judgement #Everyday #Way

  • Herbert Spencer is little read now. Philosophers do not regard him as a major thinker. Social Darwinism has long been in disrepute.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Long #Littles #Philosopher

  • If evolution is a struggle for survival, why hasn't it ruthlessly eliminated altruists, who seem to increase another's prospects of survival at the cost of their own?
    -- Peter Singer

    #Struggle #Survival #Cost

  • Human beings are social animals. We were social before we were human.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Social #Humans

  • The goal of maximizing the welfare of all may be better achieved by an ethic that accepts our inclinations and harnesses them so that, taken as a whole, the system works to everyone's advantage.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Taken #Goal #May

  • Ethics seems a morass which we have to cross, but get hopelessly bogged in when we make the attempt.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Ethics #Crosses

  • Whereas the property-owning middle class could win freedom for themselves on the basis of rights to property--thus excluding others from the freedom they gain--the property-less working class possess nothing but their title as human beings. Thus they can liberate themselves only by liberating all humanity.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Winning #Rights #Class

  • It is a mistake to assume that the law should always enforce morality.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Mistake #Law #Morality

  • Evolution has no moral direction. An evolutionary understanding of human nature can explain the differing intuitions we have when we are faced with an individual rather than with a mass of people, or with people close to us rather than with those far away, but it does not justify those feelings.
    -- Peter Singer

    #People #Feelings #Understanding

  • Egoism... is not eliminated by economic reorganization or by material abundance. When basic needs are satisfied, new 'needs' emerge. In our society, people want no simply clothes, but fashionable clothes; not shelter, but a house to display their wealth and taste.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Clothes #People #House

  • Marx saw that capitalism is a wasteful, irrational system, a system which controls us when we should be controlling it. That insight is still valid; but we can now see that the construction of a free and equal society is a more difficult task than Marx realized.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Saws #Tasks #Construction

  • Those who purchase meat, fur, and leather have no right to be shielded from the sights and sounds of the slaughterhouses from which these products were produced.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Sight #Fur #Meat

  • So why don't we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would all agree to have ourselves sterilized then no sacrifices would be required - we could party our way into extinction!
    -- Peter Singer

    #Party #Sacrifice #Would Be

  • Science does not stand still, and neither does philosophy, although the latter has a tendency to walk in circles.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Philosophy #Circles #Doe

  • Human social institutions can effect the course of human evolution. Just as climate, food supply, predators, and other natural forces of selection have molded our nature, so too can our culture.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Culture #Predator #Climate

  • Ethics is inescapable.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Ethics

  • It is now generally accepted that the roots of our ethics lie in patterns of behavior that evolved among our pre-human ancestors, the social mammals and that we retain within our biological nature elements of these evolved responses. We have learned considerably more about this responses, and we are beginning to to understand how they interact with our capacity to reason.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Lying #Roots #Elements

  • It is easy for us to criticize the prejudices of our grandfathers, from which our fathers freed themselves. It is more difficult to distance ourselves from our own views, so that we can dispassionately search for prejudices among the beliefs and values we hold
    -- Peter Singer

    #Distance #Father #Views

  • Of those who die from avoidable, poverty-related causes, nearly 10 million, according to UNICEF, are children under five. They die from diseases such as measles, diarrhoea, and malaria that are easy and inexpensive to treat or prevent.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Children #Disease #Poverty

  • When children see animals in a circus, they learn that animals exist for our amusement. Quite apart from the cruelty involved in training and confining these animals, the whole idea that we should enjoy the humiliating spectacle of an elephant or lion made to perform circus tricks shows a lack of respect for the animals as individuals.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Children #Animal #Elephants

  • If you earn a lot of money, you can give away a lot of money.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Giving

  • I believe that in this new world that we live in, we often have a responsibility, you know, to actually go beyond the thou shalt nots - that is, the not harming others - and say we can help others and we should be helping others.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Believe #Responsibility #Helping Others

  • When fish experience something that would cause other animals physical pain, they behave in ways suggestive of pain, and the change in behaviour may last several hours.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Pain #Animal #Behaviour

  • Nineteen thousand children [are] dying every day. Does it really matter that we're not walking past them in the street? Does it really matter that they're far away? I don't think it does make a morally relevant difference.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Children #Past #Thinking

  • We are not especially 'interested in' animals. Neither of us had ever been inordinately fond of dogs, cats, or horses in the way that many people are. We didn't 'love' animals.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Dog #Horse #Cat

  • In appropriate circumstances we are justified in using humans to achieve goals (or the goal of assisting animals).
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Goal #Justified

  • Will we rise to the challenge and prove our capacity for genuine altruism by ending our ruthless exploitation of the species in our power, not because we are forced to do so by rebels or terrorists, but because we recognize that our position is morally indefensible?
    -- Peter Singer

    #Challenges #Rebel #Genuine

  • There are some circumstances, for example, where the newborn baby is severely disabled and where the parents think that it's better that child should not live, when killing the newborn baby is not at all wrong ... not like killing the chimpanzee would be.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Baby #Children #College

  • Philosophy is not politics, and we do our best, within our all-too-human limitations, to seek the truth, not to score points against opponents. There is little satisfaction in gaining an easy triumph over a weak opponent while ignoring better arguments against your views.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Philosophy #Views #Opponents

  • The only justifiable stopping place for for the expansion of altruism is the point at which all whose welfare can be affected by our actions are included within the circle of altruism. This means that all beings with the capacity to feel pleasure or pain should be included; we can improve their welfare by increasing their pleasures and diminishing their pains.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Pain #Mean #Circles

  • The core of ethics runs deep in our species and is common to human beings everywhere. It survives the most appalling hardships and the most ruthless attempts to deprive human beings of their humanity. Nevertheless, some people resist the idea that his core has a biological basis which we have inherited from our pre-human ancestors.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Running #Ideas #People

  • Why...is the hunter who shoots a deer for venison subject to more criticism than the person who buys a ham at the supermarket? Overall, it is probably the intensively reared pig who has suffered more.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Pigs #Criticism

  • Typically, defenders of experiments on animals do not deny that animals suffer. They cannot deny the animals' suffering, because they need to stress the similarities between humans and other animals in order to claim that their experiments may have some relevance for human purposes. The experimenter who forces rats to choose between starvation and electric shock to see if they develop ulcers (which they do) does so because the rat has a nervous system very similar to a human being's, and presumably feels an electric shock in a similar way.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Stress #Animal #Order

  • ...the nervous systems of other animals were not artificially constructed - as a robot might be artificially constructed - to mimic the pain behavior of humans. A capacity to feel pain obviously enhances a species' prospects of survival...it is surely unreasonable to suppose that nervous systems that are virtually identical physiologically, have a common origin and a common evolutionary function, and result in similar forms of behavior in similar circumstances should actually operate in an entirely different manner on the level of subjective feelings.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Pain #Animal #Feelings

  • At present scientists do not look for alternatives simply because they do not care enough about the animals they are using.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Animal #Alternatives #Looks

  • My aim is to advocate that we make this mental switch in respect of our attitudes and practices towards a very large group of beings: members of species other than our own - or, as we popularly though misleadingly call them, animals. In other words, I am urging that we extend to other species the basic principle of equality that most of us recognize should be extended to all members of our own species.
    -- Peter Singer

    #Attitude #Animal #Practice