Suggest a question for Peter Singer

by finm1 min read5th Sep 20205 comments


EA & the MediaCommunityFarmed Animal Welfare

I've arranged to speak to Peter Singer for the podcast I co-host, at some point in early October. The focus will mainly be his upcoming book Why Vegan?  but there will be scope to discuss a range of topics besides.

If you have a question you would like to ask him, we would love to hear them. If there are > 5ish suggestions, Luca and I will pick our favourites (weighted by upvotes). Bonus points for originality – would be great to be able to ask some properly novel questions!

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(why) do you focus on near-term animal welfare and poverty alleviation?

People in this discussion might be interested in my past interview with Singer.

1. What do you think are the best arguments for cardinal welfare over merely ordinal welfare? I'm pretty sympathetic to the claim that there's no real fact of the matter as to whether some experience of suffering is 2 or 3 or 100 times worse than another, or that the sum of some pleasure and some experience of suffering takes any particular value, positive, negative or 0. Do you think some individual experience of suffering could be infinitely worse than another?

2. A few years ago, you left preference utilitarianism for hedonistic utilitarianism. Do you consider yourself a classical utilitarian specifically? 

3. What are your thoughts on 

a. negative utilitarianism (preference or hedonistic), 

b. person-affecting views, the procreation asymmetry, and 

c. other forms of aggregation other than straight addition, like prioritarianism, egalitarianism (satisfying Pareto or not), maximin/leximin?

  • People switched from whale oil to electricity, not because of any ethical considerations. Do you think that without any moral advocacy humanity would eventually abolish meat?
  • What are the positive and negative effects of animal advocacy on the adaptation of new food technologies (e.g. Beyond Meat's plant-based patties)?

What are your egoistic preferences? (ex.: hedonism peak, hedonism intensity times length, learning, life extension, relationships, etc.)