Peter Singer By: Karlie Olmstead

Early Life of Peter Singer

Peter Albert David Singer was born on July, 6 of 1946 in Melbourne, Australia. Peter is an Australian moral Philosopher. His parents were both Jewish immigrants from Vienna to Australia, in 1938, to escape persecution from the Nazis. He attended Preshil School and Scotch College. Singer received his BA degree from the University of Melbourne in law history and philosophy in 1967. He then continued to completed his MA from the same university in 1969. Peter later received a scholarship to the University of Oxford where he received his B.Phil in 1971. He wrote a thesis on civil disobedience, which was later published as a book in 1973, “Democracy and Disobedience”.

His Career

Peter is has spent the past three decades of his career challenging the traditional ideas of ethics, and through that has formed a new foundation for ethical behavior. Singer is best known for all he has done for the animal rights movement, he added a new philosophical and intellectual view. He is known as a controversial figure because of his radical views, for example his idea that human-animal intercourse is ethical as long as the animal is not harmed in the process. Although he may be seen as controversial Peter Singer has plenty of accolades to backup all of his radical ideas, here are just a few. In 1971 he published one of his most famous articles “Famine, Affluence and Morality” where he speaks about why people should make charities and save others from dying. In 1975, Singer's’ book ‘Animal Liberation’ was published in which he talked about animal welfare and how we practice ‘speciesism’ in our modern culture, supporting the concepts of veganism and vegetarianism. While his book was published he was also appointed as a Radcliffe lecturer at University College Oxford and was also an active faculty at the New York University. “Animal Rights and Human Obligations : An Anthology, “Practical Ethics” in 1979, “Marx: A Very Short Introduction”, “Animal Factories” in 1980, “The Expanding Circle: Ethics and Sociobiology” in 1981 were all published between the years 1976 to 1981.In 2000, Peter's book “A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution and Cooperation” was published. In 2004, he was recognized as the Australian humanist of the year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies. In 2008, Peter became part of both a book and film which featured other philosophers and was directed by Astra Taylor. Peter then wrote and published “The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty” in 2009 where he talked about the growing poverty in the world and how this is the first time we are in a position to completely eradicate it.

Major Works

- Published one of his wide-ranging works in 1979, "Practical Ethics"

-One of Singers works that delves into the idea of finding a reasonable and ethical structure for todays scenario's. Published in 1993, "How Are We to Live?: Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest"

-Peters book "The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty" , published in 2009, became one of if not his most comprehensive humanitarian writings. In his book he talks about this generation immortality when it comes to having the ability to eradicate poverty, yet they have not.


-donates 25 percent of his salary to Oxfam and UNICEF

-member of ‘Giving What We Can’, an international society for the promotion of poverty relief

-Vegetarian since 1971

-His work has been a subject of protests and controversy in Germany in the late 80s.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.