(K. Brent Tomer),
Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter. By Peter Singer. Princeton University Press; 355 pages; $27.95 and £19.95.
SEARCH on Google, buy products on Amazon or share a friend’s post on Facebook and, after a while, the invisible algorithms that underpin these websites will start subtly changing their offerings in an effort to please. As algorithms like these improve the way they serve up content that people like, they may create for their users a false, virtual world where their values go unchallenged.
Those wishing to escape this cosy cocoon should welcome a robust test of the ethical assumptions by which they live. There are few people better qualified to provide this challenge than Peter Singer, a moral philosopher and professor of bioethics at Princeton University. “Animal Liberation”, an earlier book by Mr Singer, is credited with giving the animal-rights movement intellectual heft. “The Life You Can Save”, which proposes minimum ethical standards for charitable donations, was cited by Melinda Gates in an interview about “The Giving Pledge”, a campaign to encourage billionaires to…Continue reading