What question would you ask?


There is a weekly one hour show called Q&A here in Australia where there are 4 guests which change weekly. The guest mix is varied; politicians, celebrities, comedians, academics, entrepreneurs, military personnel, activists, authors, poets etc who answer questions from the audience and viewers who submit questions via email or video.

Next Monday Australian Professor Peter Singer will be a guest. He is a hedonistic utilitarian philosopher, a Green party member and a humanist. He currently teaches at Princeton.

**I am formulating a pro-life question to pose to him and need your help/suggestions please.

Consistent with his general ethical theory, Singer holds that the right to life is essentially tied to a being’s capacity to hold preferences, which in turn is essentially tied to a being’s capacity to feel pain and pleasure. Some critics hold that this view is subject to charges of inconsistency, equivocation and contradiction.

Similar to his argument for abortion, Singer argues that newborns lack the essential characteristics of personhood—“rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness” and therefore “killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.”

Singer classifies euthanasia as voluntary, involuntary, or non-voluntary. Voluntary euthanasia is that to which the subject consents.

In Singer’s view, the central argument against abortion may be stated as the following syllogism:

It is wrong to kill an innocent human being.
A human fetus is an innocent human being.
Therefore it is wrong to kill a human fetus.

In his book Rethinking Life and Death, as well as in Practical Ethics, Singer asserts that, if we take the premises at face value, the argument is deductively valid. Singer comments that defenders of abortion attack the second premise, suggesting that the fetus becomes a “human” or “alive” at some point after conception; however, Singer finds this argument flawed in that human development is a gradual process, and it is nearly impossible to mark a particular moment in time as the moment at which human life begins.



I would be very careful about this. Giving Singer a question will give him a platform. Having looked at the list of guests for next week (below), there are no other guests who will be able to effectively refute him on any answer he gives. There will be no right-of-reply from a pro-life philosopher/theologian.

Peter Singer - Renowned philosopher and ethicist
Greg Hunt - Minister for the Environment
Mark Butler - Shadow Minister for Environment
Amanda Vanstone - Former Liberal Senator
Adrienne Truscott - Comedian, writer, dancer and circus performer

You have three politicians - who will not want to comment on abortion issues, and be very wary of euthanasia too - and a comedian. I’d leave this one alone.


Great strategic analysis! Maybe Saving Grace and all her friends could call with innocuous but interesting and different questions for the others, mostly Ms Truscott?


Thanks guys, you made my day. Underacloud :clapping::clapping: I never thought of it that way. St Francis, I’m asking a circus question of the odd one out.

Thank you both. :slight_smile:


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