Peter Singer


Peter Albert David Singer 1946, born in Melbourne Australia. In 1946, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Law, History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and in 1969, he received his Master’s degree from the same university. Upon receiving a scholarship, he enrolled himself in a Doctorate program at the University of Oxford, he received his Ph.D. in 1971. His doctoral thesis was published as a book in 1973, titled “Democracy and Disobedience”.

In 1976, he decided to return to his native city, Melbourne, and concentrate on his career as an author. For the next five years, Singer concentrated his energies on composing his literary works, in 1976, he published his remarkable work on animal rights, titled ‘Animal Rights and Human Obligations: An Anthology’. Over the course of the next 5 years, he published 3 more widely acclaimed books, titled  ‘Practical Ethics’ (1979 , ‘Marx: A Very Short Introduction’ (1980), ‘Animal Factories’ (1980), and ‘The Expanding Circle: Ethics and Sociobiology’ (1981).

In 1977, he was appointed the Chair of Philosophy at the Monash University, where later, he was also appointed the first director of the Center for Human Bioethics. During his tenure at the University, Peter Singer founded the International Association of Bioethics. During 1982-1985, Singer published four more books, titled: ‘Hegel’ (1982), ‘Test-Tube Babies: a guide to moral questions, present techniques and future possibilities’ (1982), ‘The Reproduction Revolution: New Ways of Making Babies’ (1985) and ‘Should the Baby Live? The Problem of Handicapped Infants’.

During the 80s and the early 90s, Singer devoted his time to composing his revolutionary and radical thoughts into remarkable literary works, which garnered worldwide appreciation and millions of devout fans who began devouring his Works.

Singer continued to develop his positions on animal rights and other topics in applied ethical and political philosophy—including stem cell research, infanticideeuthanasia, global environmental concerns, and the political implications of Darwinism ( human evolution)—placing them within the context of theoretical developments in utilitarianism. Even as his philosophical defense of animal rights gained currency in academia and beyond, however, his stances on other issues engendered new controversies, some of which pitted him against people who had supported his work on behalf of animal rights or had been sympathetic to his general philosophical approach. In 1999, his appointment to Princeton University was protested by activists on behalf of the disabled, who objected to his view that the active euthanasia of severely disabled human infants is morally permissible in some circumstances.

Some of the notable works published by him during this period include, : ‘Ethical and Legal Issues in Guardianship Options for Intellectually Disadvantaged People’ (1986), ‘Animal Liberation: A Graphic Guide’ (1987), ‘A Companion to Ethics’ (1991), ‘Save the Animals!’ (1991), ‘Embryo Experimentation’ (1993), ‘The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity’ (1995), How Are We to Live? : Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest’ (1993), Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics’, ‘The Greens’, and ‘The Allocation of Health Care Resources’.

In 1999, Singer was appointed the Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Value at Princeton University. However, due to the controversies generated in America regarding his radical ideas on bioethical issues, his employment required justification. Singer has been the recipient of several awards and accolades befitting his valuable and effective work. In 2004, he was presented the title of ‘Australian Humanist of the year’ by the Council of Australian Humanists.  In 2009, Time magazine included Peter Singer’s name in its list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”. More recently, in 2012, he was named a Companion of the Order of Australia in light of his remarkable contributions to the field of philosophy and bioethics. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Board of Incentives for Global Health, an NGO dedicated to the development of the Health Impact Fund Proposal, along with, the advisory board of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP). Singer is also the author of Encyclopædia Britannica’s article on ethics.




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