WITH PETER SINGER
“What one generation finds ridiculous, the next accepts; and the third shudders when it looks back on what the first did.”
Have you ever wondered whether or not you’re actually a ‘good’ person? Perhaps you answered ‘yes’…Or perhaps you remember that grape you ate at the supermarket without paying for it and changed your answer to ‘no’. But wait! What does it even mean to be a ‘good’ person? Actually, what does it even mean to be a ‘person’? These questions are definitely not easy, but don’t stress – to help you answer them we’ve got the expert in ethics. Think Inc. presents An Evening with Peter Singer.
The term iconic gets thrown around a lot these days. It’s used to describe soon-to-be forgotten instagram posts that garner a certain amount of likes. It’s attributed to literally anybody who had a hit single in the 80’s. It’s even the name of a popular fast fashion website. Look, we’re not saying that these examples aren’t deserving of the title, but…. they certainly aren’t more so than Peter Singer. Peter is a truly iconic thinker.
Once labelled “the most dangerous man in the world”, Peter is by far the most widely read contemporary philosopher in existence. His work, covering a variety of topics, focuses on what it means to live an ethical life, and has led to his appointment as a professor of Bioethics at Princeton as well as at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.
Peter has shaped his career around the idea of reducing suffering and maximising happiness. Utilitarianism – the theory which states that the most ethical choice, in any situation, is the one that provides the greatest good for the greatest number – underlines his work and served as the basis for his 2009 book The Life You Can Save. The book inspired the global Effective Altruism movement and sought praise from figures such as Bill and Melinda Gates (you might have heard of them, they’ve donated more than 36 billion dollars to charity).
Effective Altruism is a movement which seeks to determine the most effective ways to increase the overall welfare of all human beings. Using evidence and reasoning you can maximise the positive effect of donating to charity by giving to organisations that provide the biggest net benefit. Peter argues that it is a moral imperative to give more and to have the money used in the best way, often citing the existence of extreme poverty as an unethical reality considering the amount of wealth there is in the world.
To support the movement, Peter established a non-profit, The Life You Can Save, to promote high impact philanthropy. All net proceeds from An Evening with Peter Singer will be donated to The Life You Can Save, in an effort to alleviate global poverty. Everyone who attends the shows will also receive a copy of the book – great, right?
Peter’s work in ethics has been so highly regarded that he is considered to be the world’s most influential living philosopher. A serious title, we know. But not hyperbolic in the slightest. He is perhaps best known for his revolutionary work, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, universally regarded as the philosophical foundation of the animal rights movement. In what has become the Bible of vegetarianism and veganism, Peter points out the institutional cruelty that we impose on animals, arguing that it is wholly immoral and unnecessary. He argues that if a being can experience suffering (human or otherwise), it is our moral duty to try and reduce that suffering wherever possible. Through his trademark logic and reasoning, Peter has inspired millions across the world to give up meat and animal products.
Sure, nowadays everyone knows plenty of vegans and vegetarians but when Peter wrote Animal Liberation, 1975, these ideas were not commonplace. Peter has been ahead of the curve on a bunch of issues, foreshadowing modern attitudes and helping to shape them. He has been a vocal proponent of euthanasia and abortion, controversially campaigning for their legislation since the 70’s. This has got him into some hot water over the years, even leading to him being labelled a Nazi by some opponents (pssst, we’ll let you in on a secret – he’s not a Nazi).
Needless to say, Peter Singer is an intellectual heavyweight and absolutely one of Australia’s greatest exports. Think Inc. is incredibly proud to bring to you An Evening with Peter Singer. Peter will be live on stage speaking to audiences in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland in June 2020. Come and learn how to apply ethics to your everyday life, make the greatest impact you can on society and gain insight into the mind of the world’s most influential philosopher. As always – think responsibly.
Wednesday 10th June
Friday 12th June
Sunday 14th June
Sunday 21st June