The infanticide controversy: the editor

By Michael Cook

An interview with Julian Savulescu from Australia Unlimited on Vimeo.

Prof. Julian Savulescu

Julian Savulescu, the Australian philosopher who was a student of Peter Singer and is now the director of Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford, is ever controversial. He was a leading figure in the recent controversy over the article arguing that infanticide is morally permissible in the journal he edits, the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Nonetheless, he was selected by the Australian Government’s new on-line magazine to showcase Aussie intellectual talent and enhance the country’s international reputation. “Whether you agree with him or not, Savulescu’s counter-intuitive but rationally argued ideas are all about creating better lives for people,” says journalist Tim Griggs in Australia Unlimited.

“I don’t particularly enjoy controversy,” Savulescu says. “I just go where the argument leads me. I think what I’m saying is common sense – very often it’s what other people would like to say, but for whatever reason they feel constrained. I don’t court notoriety, but I do see it as part of my job to bring forward arguments which are under-represented in public debate.”

No doubt there will be more controversy in a book written with Ingmar Persson, Unfit for the Future? The Need for Moral Enhancement, which will be published in July Oxford University Press.

Editor’s note. This appeared at and is reprinted with permission.