FLORIDA, June 18, 2012 — Is it wise to search for absolute certainty? Does such a thing really exist? Can we use faith to find the answers, or are we better off sticking with science?
Speaking of faith and science, there is a major campaign going on in the political realm, the place where they intersect. If politics is an extension of a nation's culture, what does the rapidly changing American social and political landscape imply about our values? What guides our social evolution on an intellectual level?
Ethics, of course.
In this second and final part of my interview with Dr. Peter Singer, one of the world's foremost authorities on applied ethics, he discusses declining standards in contemporary politics, worsening state of the environment and a modern consideration of traditional Western philosophies.
He also explains what motivated him to become an ethicist in the first place.
Joseph F. Cotto: Some might perceive your utilitarian approach to ethics as irrational, or even counterproductive. Why, from your prospective, is utilitarianism a better bet than traditional Western philosophies that promote absolute certainty?
Dr. Peter Singer: It's difficult to give a short answer to that question - in fact I'm co-authoring a book about it at the moment - but in brief, I think these more traditional Western philosophies may seem to promote "absolute certainty" but of course they do not, as we see from the disagreements between them, and from the fact that they are not even internally consistent, as I have argued in several of my books. I see acting in the best interests of all those affected by our actions as the most ethical and the most rational way to live.
Read it all here.