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Tutorial Discussion: Peter Singer. Peter Singer’s Argument 1  Premise One: A future life that will be miserable is not worth-living and so should be.

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Presentation on theme: "Tutorial Discussion: Peter Singer. Peter Singer’s Argument 1  Premise One: A future life that will be miserable is not worth-living and so should be."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tutorial Discussion: Peter Singer

2 Peter Singer’s Argument 1  Premise One: A future life that will be miserable is not worth-living and so should be terminated during infancy  Premise Two: The future life of a severe case of spina bifida will be miserable  Conclusion: The future life of a severe case of spina bifida is not worth-living and so should be terminated during infancy (i.e., euthanasia)

3 Strategy One: to reject Premise One -- Option 1.  Though a life might be miserable in the future, human beings should not kill another human being. We should alleviate the pain by palliative medicine and be supportive rather than to be destructive.

4 Option 2. A future life that will be “miserable” might still be worth-living because whether a life is worth-living or not is a value judgement, which varies from person to person. It often happens that lives which observers consider of poor quality are lived quite satisfactorily by the one living that life. Human beings are amazingly adaptive. E.g., 王均祥、 Stephen Hawkins

5 Strategy Two: to reject Premise Two  The future life of a severe case of spina bifida will not be miserable because one can overcome the physical hardships of this congenital defect and remain cheerful in life. E.g., 泳桁

6 Peter Singer’s Argument 2  Premise One: A future life that will decrease the overall social level of happiness should be terminated during infancy.  Premise Two: The future life of a Downs Syndrome or hemophilia baby, if can be replaced by a “normal” baby, will decrease the overall social level of happiness.  Conclusion: The future life of a Downs Syndrome or hemophilia baby, if can be replaced by a “normal” baby, should be terminated during infancy (i.e., euthanasia)

7 Strategy One: to reject Premise One  A future life that will decrease the overall social level of happiness should not be terminated during infancy because every life is sacred or worthwhile in itself, and can be enjoyed in itself, regardless of its degree of social contribution.

8 Strategy Two: to reject Premise 2  The future life of a Downs Syndrome or hemophilia baby, if can be replaced by a “normal” baby, will not necessarily decrease the overall social level of happiness.  This is because happiness is difficult to quantify and measure, especially long-term happiness. The happiness of a family with a Downs Syndrome child might be as much as the happiness of a family without a Downs Syndrome child.  The happiness of a family with a hemophilia child might be even greater than the happiness of a family without a hemophilia child, whose “normal” child might eventually commit suicide, become gangsters, or die in SARS. There is no guaranteed predictions.


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