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Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization Paperback – May 28, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521149339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521149334
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,020,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"... an attempt to find common ground between the world champion of preference utilitarianism, Professor Peter Singer and the global bastion of natural law ethics, the Catholic church, which is both scholarly and yet full of surprises and of interest to ethicists in general and not just those in the camps at the heart of the analysis ... the author, a Catholic professor of theology at Fordham University, New York gets a cover commendation from the very man he puts under the spotlight ... readers who are only acquainted with the media stereotypes of Catholicism and Singer will find much here to challenge their previous complacencies about what both believe ..."
Dr Trevor Stammers, BioCentre (Bioethics)

"... a creative and helpful reframing of the discourse surrounding Singer's work ... provides an excellent and accessible analysis of current debates surrounding issues such as euthanasia and abortion ... It's a provocative book that should be widely read, and one that is worthy of sustained conversation."
Rob Vischer, Mirror of Justice

"Philosophy makes progress through criticism that is based on a sound grasp of the position under scrutiny, acknowledging its strengths as well as seeking to expose its weaknesses. Charles Camosy does exactly that, which is why, despite the deep disagreements between us, I regard Peter Singer and Christian Ethics as a valuable contribution to philosophy in general, and to applied ethics in particular."
Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University, and Laureate Professor, University of Melbourne

"Both critics and supporters of the views of Peter Singer will find Camosy's book a valuable read. His comparison of the views of Singer and the Catholic Church covers a wide range of topics including abortion, euthanasia, treatment of the poor, and ethical theorizing itself. Camosy's writing is clear; he is thoroughly familiar with the writings of Singer and related texts, and his analysis is provocative."
Robert Baird, Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University, Texas

"This important work by one of the most intriguing voices in a new generation of moral theologians, while defending the profound and prophetic truth of a Christian theological vision, shows the radical potential of Catholic moral teaching by pushing it toward greater specificity and consistency."
Julie Hanlon Rubio, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Saint Louis University

"... this book is well written and in stylistic resonance with Peter Singer's work. It mediates between a pedagogical and academic text and deserves to be widely read and discussed."
Celia Deane-Drummond, The Tablet

"... speaks movingly of the wonder elicited by the beauty of nature ..."
Claritas, Journal of Dialogue and Culture

"... this book will be a first stop for further work exploring the relationship between Peter Singer and Christian ethics ... overall, I think this book is a success, and highly recommend it."
Russell DiSilvestro, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"The result of an application of a way of thinking about ethics that many people find attractive ... Camosy is right to think that Christian ethicists have good reason to engage seriously with Singer, the better to understand their disagreements ..."
Peter Wicks, First Things

"This book concludes by considering how Singer and Christian ethicists might clarify one another's thinking and practice ... Camosy's approach of respectfully but critically examining Singer's positions, acknowledging strengths and identifying failures could serve as a fruitful model for engagement in polarized world, where sentimentality and caricature too often replace thoughtful debate."
Brian Volck, Christian Century

"... highlights ways that the Catholic tradition can learn from Singer. This work will be valuable for anyone interested in philosophical and theological ethics ... Recommended ..."
J. H. Sniegocki, Choice

"In this wide-ranging work Camosy shows himself to be vigorous, lucid, and deeply compelling, compared to Don Quixote only because his ethical sallies are bold, laudable, and inspiring ..."
Christopher M. Hays, The Marginalia Review of Books

"... a very good book. It is well written and clearly argued, and it is about an important question, namely whether Peter Singer's ethical work can be reconciled with Christian ethics."
Scottish Journal of Theology

"... a great deal of worthwhile discussion [on] a variety of critical moral issues."
The Linacre Quarterly

"Camosy's work demonstrates how Christians in general and Catholics in particular might engage in moral discourse in an increasingly pluralistic world."
The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Book Description

This book explores issues such as abortion, euthanasia, global poverty and the dignity of non-human animals to show that Peter Singer and Christian ethics, commonly understood as occupying polarized positions, are far closer than has been thought. It will be valuable for all who are interested in their continuing debate.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Trevor G. Stammers on May 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
Unsurprisingly, Peter Singer attracts much rhetoric in response to his often controversial views. This masterly critique of his writings is to be commended therefore for its temperate tone, as well as its cogent counter-arguments to many of Singer's conclusions.

However the uniqueness of this book is its remarkable and, to this reader at least, very enlightening emphasis on the areas of philosphical reasoning where Singer and Christianity (and especially Catholicism) agree and the book clearly demonstrates that there are lots of them.

Little wonder then that Camosy has won the rare accolade of a cover commendation by the very philosopher under scrutiny. Even Singer himself is won over, as evidenced by his ringing endorsement of the book "as a valuable contribution to philosophy in general, and to applied ethics in particular". It certainly is and anyone interested in Singer - as a fan or foe, is bound to benefit from reading it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jared on May 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a student currently in undergrad for theology at a Catholic college with an interest in ethics, I found this book to be both approachable and a good read. I love the basic setup of showing both Singer's and the Churches Views, followed by a breakdown of what is compatible along with the differences. I am glad Dr. Camosy did not shy away from being clear where the views did not align, and found the dialogue suggested for moving forward to be wonderfully articulated.

Overall I would suggest this book to anyone who is interested in Christian Ethics, and or Peter Singer's works. This thought provoking book is miles ahead of many Christians who don't want anything to do with Singer let alone compare his thoughts to Christianity. This work is a step in the right direction of dialogue between persons of faith and those of non-faith.

A great book that in my humble opinion asks you to set aside opinions of Singer and really get to know many of his beliefs in a way that makes you critically think about your personal ethics.

A wonderful read that I suggest to all!
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By F. Szarejko on October 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a good example of an author framing his arguments to support his preconceptions, this is it. In almost every chapter the author has to stretch the limits of credulity to make the gap between Peter Singer's ethics and Christian ethics appear to be "quite narrow." For example, he argues that the Roman Catholic Church and therefore Christians in general hold that the embryo or fetus is a "potential person." While there may be some who agree to this, the overwhelming position of pro-life Christians is that the unborn child, in every stage, is a developing human person. That is, the unborn are already persons, not potential persons.
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4 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Randall Ward on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
To understand what Christianity is; first read the Christian Bible, second, join a christian church and learn from other Christians, third, become a Christian and be baptized.
If someone wants to understand Christianity without becoming a Christian; Read the Catholic Church catechism and the scripture associated with each paragraph. Watch EWTN television.
Then you will be able to judge if Christianity is close to anything Peter Singer teaches.
The answer is Christians do not have to agree with Peter Singer about abortion to be able to help the poor people of this earth. In fact Peter Singer would like to do away with many of the poor people on this earth to make room for animals. Christians want to feed and love the poor not abort them away.
If you want to read Peter Singer; read his books about his ideas; no reason to connect him to Christianity.
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More About the Author

I'm a professor of Christian Ethics at Fordham University in New York City who is interested in building conversation and solidarity between groups which sometimes find it difficult to engage. In particular, I want to show the overlap between 'pro-life conservatives' and 'social justice liberals.'

My latest book does this with respect to the issues of concern for non-human animals. I'm curious to know what you think! In addition to rating it on Amazon, please go to the book's Facebook page and leave a comment:

Please also feel free to contact me directly @nohiddenmagenta and

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Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization
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