01 January 2004


One thing that distinguishes philosophers from activists is that philosophers criticize each other. They do not suppress criticism for the sake of "solidarity." Peter Singer and Tom Regan have criticized each other's work for almost three decades. This is good; it shows that they are first and foremost philosophers and only secondarily activists. Gary Francione criticizes Singer, Regan, and everyone else (including PETA) who is well-intentioned but is in fact doing harm to animals. Francione's only goal is doing right by the animals. If he thinks PETA is harming animals but doesn't say so—and explain why—he is not a true philosopher. No self-respecting philosopher would be either a member or a defender of PETA. PETA is an organization, with all the faults and foibles of an organization. Philosophers must remain independent.