Skeptical Salon Segment Style - The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer

  • July 31, 2014 · 7:30 PM
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Since we're a bit late in posting this month's Salon, we're only reading a segment of a book {Chapters 6 and 7 to be precise}.

Our own Marcus Davis has suggested this month's Salon piece, and comments about it thus: 


"This month's selection, or the portion that we'll be reading, addresses the question of evidence-based altruism and the empirical arguments that all such aid is ineffective. Specifically, they address how we know which charities are effective, an estimate of the cost of some of these interventions, data on what countries give now, if and when aid is self-defeating, if trade is the better option, private versus government aid and, finally, the role of overpopulation concerns in aid.

"The two chapters combined likely aren't more than about 50 pages (it is a little over a 100 when reading them on iPhone). And, importantly, the acceptance of the empirical arguments in them does not depend at all on the acceptance of the ethical arguments that make up much of the rest of the book."

Here is the link to the Amazon.com entry: http://www.amazon.com/Life-You-Can-Save-Poverty/dp/0812981561/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405454013&sr=1-1&keywords=the+life+you+can+save

And the link to the NY Times book review: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/books/11garn.html?_r=1&;

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  • suzanne

    I wish I could have attended!! I lost track of time!

    August 1

  • Nate

    Hey everyone, Really great to meet all of you last night. I really enjoyed the discussion.

    1 · August 1

  • Maynard F.

    Animated and wide ranging discussion.

    August 1

  • Maynard F.

    Discussion was animated and wide ranging on the book topic (The Life You Can Save, Singer). Jennifer's Place is always a fine and hospitable place to meet.

    July 31

  • Maynard F.

    Discussion was animated and wide ranging on the book topic (The Life You Can Save, Singer). Jennifer's Place is always a fine and hospitable place to meet.

    2 · July 31

  • Jenny T.

    Bleh, would love to go but am still sick

    July 31

  • Nate

    Hey there, folks. Looking forward to being there tonight and meeting everyone.

    July 31

  • Jeff W.

    I'm going to attempt to make a vegan soup. It will have... well... vegetables in it. I have no idea what I'm doing. There will be a bit of fruit and vegetable platter as well. And pizzas for the animal lovers among us.

    1 · July 30

    • Beth

      I am planning some lemon bars, but they're not made yet so no guarantees.

      July 30

  • Anne B.

    Peter Singer, a premier ass. Luckily evidence-based altruism is probably his least offensive topic.

    July 29

    • Jenny T.

      That's interesting. I suppose the same kind of utilitarianism that supports altruistic giving can also support giving parents the choice of selective infanticide.

      July 30

    • Anne B.

      Jenny and I think it is very important to understand the foundational basis from which an author stems in order to add a layer of interpretation when considering other works by that author, however topically separate. And Marcus, as someone also very familiar with his work, I will agree that calling someone a Nazi is sensationalistic and it is important for individuals to read Singer's work itself and not carry on based on articles alone, they were merely a taste of how his assertions make people feel - BUT - he toys with the concepts of life and death, dignity and humanness in what I consider as an academic to be from a very privileged perspective and in an irresponsible manner. His position on altruistic aid should not surprise anyone. Have fun on Thursday!

      July 30

  • suzanne

    Hi! Looking to meet open minded and friendly people!

    1 · July 29

  • Marcus

    Even though it's not officially for the group, I highly recommend the rest of the book no matter your particular ethical views. It's engaging and you don't have to share Singer's specific views to find his arguments compelling. And it's fairly short at under 240 pages.

    1 · July 15

  • Jenny T.

    Ooh, Peter Singer! I'm in.

    July 15

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