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Book Title: The President of Good and Evil|
The author of the book: Peter Singer
ISBN 13: 9780452286221
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 5.8
The size of the: 782 KB
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Date of issue: August 3rd 2004
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Admittedly, my reading of The President of Good and Evil is a touch belated, but in many ways I am glad it is because I was able to appreciate Peter Singer's work more for what it does than who it is was written about.
Singer's discussion of the failure of Bush's ethics came as no surprise to me. Indeed, there was very little in Singer's argument that I hadn't already considered. The hypocrisy, the lies, the fundamentalism, the arrogance, the vengeance, the stupidity, it is all covered in well argued and scholarly detail.
And Singer's conclusions speak for themselves: "When Bush speaks about his ethics, he is either sincere or he is insincere. If he is insincere, he stands condemned for that alone. I have started with the opposite, more generous assumption: that Bush is sincere, and that we should take his ethic seriously, assessing it on its own terms, and asking how well he has done by his own standards. Even if that assumption should be false, the task has been worth undertaking, for we no know that, sincerely held or not, Bush's ethic is woefully inadequate."Singer proves that Bush was a failure, and his presidency was an unethical mess. But that's not what makes The President of Good and Evil such a fascinating book.
The most compelling aspect of The President of Good and Evil is what it reveals about the importance of thinking and arguing critically. Singer takes all of Bush's statements about ethics and morals and applies them to Bush's actions, moving logically through every misstep to illuminate how those missteps prove Bush's ethical failure, regardless of whether Bush's ethics are individual, utilitarian, Christian or intuitive. It is an impressive critical analysis of Bush's first term as President (the book was written before the 2004 election) and an impressive survey of ethics in action.
Moreover, it provides a convincing argument that all of our leaders should, at the barest minimum, be capable of critical analysis themselves (and, really, so should we all). Bush was incapable of any analysis, critical or otherwise. Perhaps his inability was derived from his faith, perhaps it was merely from his inborn stupidity, but the fact that he was and is incapable of critical analysis was thoroughly proven by Peter Singer.
I would love to see Singer apply this sort of analysis to every American presidency. Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Obama -- just to name a few -- could all use a deconstruction of their ethics.
But all that aside, I think I will use The President of Good and Evil as a required text the next time I teach "The Principles of Literary Analysis" -- Singer has provided the perfect model of how to think critically.
My only regret with The President of Good and Evil is that it is my first engagement with Peter Singer. I need to get Practical Ethics as soon as possible.
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Read information about the authorPeter Albert David Singer is an Australian philosopher. He is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), University of Melbourne. He specializes in applied ethics, approaching ethical issues from a secular preference utilitarian perspective.
He has served, on two occasions, as chair of philosophy at Monash University, where he founded its Centre for Human Bioethics. In 1996, he ran unsuccessfully as a Green candidate for the Australian Senate. In 2004, he was recognized as the Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies.
Outside academic circles, Singer is best known for his book Animal Liberation, widely regarded as the touchstone of the animal liberation movement. Not all members of the animal liberation movement share this view, and Singer himself has said the media overstates his status. His views on that and other issues in bioethics have attracted attention and a degree of controversy.
Excerpted from Wikipedia.
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