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Peter Singer

For Peter Singer's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

/ Jan 19, 2012

Commitment hatched Europe's ethical eggs

Forty years ago, I stood with a few other students in a busy Oxford street handing out leaflets protesting the use of battery cages to hold hens. Most of those who took the leaflets did not know that their eggs came from hens kept ...

/ Nov 17, 2011

Time to ban world's deadliest recreational drug

U.S. President Barack Obama's doctor confirmed last month that the president no longer smokes. At the urging of his wife, Michelle Obama, the president first resolved to stop smoking in 2006, and has used nicotine replacement therapy to help him. If it took Obama, ...

/ Oct 17, 2011

Unjustness of death penalty underlined again

Three significant events relating to the death penalty occurred in the United States during September. The one that gained the most publicity was the execution in Georgia of Troy Davis, who had been convicted of the 1989 murder of Mark McPhail, an off-duty police ...

/ Aug 13, 2011

Toward a planet safe for great apes

Two new movies released this month — one a science-fiction blockbuster, the other a revealing documentary — raise the issue of our relations with our closest nonhuman relatives, the great apes. Both dramatize insights and lessons that should not be ignored. Rupert Wyatt's "Rise of ...

/ Jul 20, 2011

Gauging moral progress by animal welfare

Mahatma Gandhi acutely observed that "the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." To seek to reduce the suffering of those who are completely under one's domination, and unable to fight back, is truly ...

/ Jun 20, 2011

Objective defense of why some things matter

Can moral judgments be true or false? Or is ethics, at bottom, a purely subjective matter, for individuals to choose, or perhaps relative to the culture of the society in which one lives? We might have just found out the answer. Among philosophers, the view ...

/ May 16, 2011

When prevention is more effective than relief

When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March, Brian Tucker was in Padang, Indonesia. Tucker was working with a colleague to design a refuge that could save thousands of lives if — or rather, when — a tsunami like the one in 1797 ...

/ Apr 16, 2011

The enemies of a digital universal library

Scholars have long dreamed of a universal library containing everything that has ever been written. Then, in 2004, Google announced that it would begin digitally scanning all the books held by five major research libraries. Suddenly, the library of utopia seemed within reach. Indeed, a ...

/ Mar 4, 2011

Justifying an intervention in Libya for justice' sake

MELBOURNE — The world has watched in horror as Libya's Colonel Moammar Gadhafi uses his military to attack protesters opposed to his rule, killing hundreds or possibly thousands of unarmed civilians. Many of his own men have refused to fire on their own people, instead ...

/ Feb 16, 2011

The world needs more elephant mothers

MELBOURNE — Many years ago, my wife and I were driving somewhere with our three young daughters in the back, when one of them suddenly asked: "Would you rather that we were clever or that we were happy?" I was reminded of that moment last ...