explain Peter Singer's impartial spectator

  • Google+ icon
  • LinkedIn icon

Singer’s preference utilitarianism as laid out in his book practical ethics, asserts that when thinking ethically one should take the view of the ‘impartial observer’. By this he means that your own interests cannot take precedence over anyone else’s interest just because they belong to you. One has to take into account everyone who is effected when making an ethical decision, and ‘weigh up all these interests and adopt a course of action which has the best consequences on balance, for all affected’ (page 12). It does not matter who you are, everyone under this theory is equally weighted. When choosing whether to help one person or another, you cannot base your decision on whether one of the people is related to you in some way. Rather base the decision on what would maximise the overall preferences of all involved.

Kate S. A Level Philosophy tutor, A Level Philosophy and Ethics tutor...

About the author

is an online A Level Philosophy and Ethics tutor with MyTutor studying at Exeter University

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist.

95% of our customers rate us

Browse tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss