Check out Psychology Today

Head over to the Psychology Today website and see a post I was invited to write, called "Peter Singer:  Espousing lack of human diversity, 20 years and counting." You all have read comments here and there from me about Singer, who is an incredibly important philosopher who's said some incredibly controversial things about human disabilities.

My colleague Jennifer Baker, who's a regular blogger at Psychology Today, wrote a post, and mine is a (sort of) response.  Even though I'm articulating some of the "intense vitriol for Singer" which she notes "puzzles me a bit," she was incredibly gracious in her email back-and-forths with me, offering a lot of helpful explanations of the field of philosophy.  And I think we do agree on one key point, which is that Singer didn't "cause" a disrespect for Down syndrome--he's voicing things that our culture already believes, and giving them additional credibility because of his status.

Okay, go over there and leave a comment.  I think it may be a big conversation.


Anonymous said...

dead link.

Alison said...

Thank you for telling me! I fixed it.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating to consider. I think that the art of philosophy (not science but art) is really about taking a position and taking it as far as you can to see where it takes you. There is danger in that as noted by Heidigger, Nietzsche and even Martin Luther who were all used to justify the Nazi's persecution and extermination of people. (Who would've thought that the works of Martin Luther would lead to that but he was a rabid anti-Jewish writer). Innocent as it seems I think there is accountability in thoughts and writings.
That being said, I do think that the morality issue needs to be taken out of the discussion about how people make their choices about any reproductive issue and that is in keeping with his Utilitarian perspective.
My important issue is how people are treated, how decisions are made; are they made with love, respect and included as part of the community as worthwhile? Or are they classed, grouped and stigmatized. That is where Mr Singer made his error in thinking. And I do believe he did make an error. A philosophical error not in good keeping with the rest of his philosophy..... an error of ism. And he is an ethicist and should acknowledge that.
Great job Alison on your article!

krlr said...

I loved your response. And Micheal Berube's post on the same topic. I will admit it tires me that I (would) have to justify my daughter's existence & it took me several days to finally click over. I have not read Mr. Singer's works in full & hesitate to wade into a debate w/out full background - but what I HAVE read makes me wants to scrub the sink instead. Is the standard for humanity now really how we feel about Woody Allen? It seems too ludicrous to acknowledge but, as you said, he has a platform. Luckily you have both eloquently tackled this & I thank you.