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July 2007 "William Crawley meets..." Series in which William Crawley, BBC journalist and broadcaster, meets the people shaping the world we live in today
Are human beings superior to animals? Not according to the Peter Singer, one of the world's most influential philosophers who says it's time humans faced up to the suffering they have inflicted on animals.
Peter Albert David Singer (born 6 July 1946) is an Australian philosopher who is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in applied ethics and approaches ethical issues from a secular, preference utilitarian perspective.
He has served, on two occasions, as chair of philosophy at Monash University, where he founded its Centre for Human Bioethics. In 1996, he unsuccessfully stood as a Greens candidate for the Australian Senate. In 2004, he was recognised as the Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies. He has been voted one of Australia's ten most influential public intellectuals. Singer serves on the Advisory Board of Incentives for Global Health, the NGO formed to develop the Health Impact Fund proposal.
Outside academic circles, Singer is best known for his book Animal Liberation, widely regarded as the touchstone of the animal liberation movement. Not all members of the animal liberation movement share this view, and Singer himself has said the media overstates his status. His views on that and other issues in bioethics have attracted attention and a degree of controversy.