We the People of Exeter and Phillips Exeter Academy will host Peter Singer presenting his lecture “Affective Altruism” on Thursday, October 11 at 7 PM at the PEA Assembly Hall, Front Street, Exeter. Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. Professor Singer is best known for his role as one of the intellectual founders of the modern animal rights movement.
Peter Singer is also the co-founder of The Life You Can Save organization, based on his book of the same name, a nonprofit devoted to spreading his ideas about why we should be doing much more to improve the lives of people living in extreme poverty. His essay, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” argues in favor of our ethical responsibility to relieve the suffering of the global poor through donations and advocacy.
Published in 1975, Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation has been cited as a formative influence on leaders of the modern animal rights movement. The central argument of the book is the concept that “the greatest good of the greatest number” is the only measure of ethical behavior. Singer believes that there is no reason not to apply this principle to other animals, arguing that the boundary between human and “animal” is completely arbitrary. There are far more differences, for instance, between a great ape and an oyster than between a human and a great ape, and yet the former two are lumped together as “animals,” whereas we are considered “human” in a way that supposedly differentiates us from all other “animals.”
Peter Singer’s talk is presented by We the People, a free lecture and film series exploring issues at the intersection of current events, ethics and religion. We the People is co-sponsored by the Congregational, Episcopal, and Unitarian Universalist churches of Exeter, in association with Phillips Exeter Academy and Water Street Bookstore. The talk will be held at the Phillips Exeter Assembly Hall, which is handicapped-accessible