Columnnist

Peter Singer

Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University

Peter Singer is Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. His books include 'Animal Liberation', 'Practical Ethics', 'The Point of View of the Universe' (with Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek), and, most recently, 'The Most Good You Can Do'.

Peter Singer
30 Nov 2022

FTX saga shows not all ends justify means

In the wake of the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and amid reports that FTX's founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, diverted billions of dollars of clients' funds, some observers have linked the alleged financial malpractice to ideas widely held within the "effective altruism" movement, which Mr Bankman-Fried says inspired him. More specifically, they point to the ethical view that the end justifies the means.

30 Nov 2022
10 Nov 2022

Who are the beneficiaries of 'free speech'?

How is it that a man who has banned 83 million people from Twitter can freely use the platform to post his messages denigrating women and supporting the brutal attack on the writer Salman Rushdie? I'm referring to the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose government is killing young women who want to be able to show their hair in public.

10 Nov 2022 4
12 Oct 2022

Research ethics on non-human subjects 'lacking'

In August, Springer Nature, the publisher of 3,000 academic journals, including the "Nature" portfolio of the world's most influential science journals, announced new ethics guidance for its editors, addressing the balance between academic freedom and the risk that publication of some research will harm specific groups of humans. The guidance also mentions, though much more briefly, research using animals.

12 Oct 2022 4
10 Sep 2022

Do we share a childish sense of morality?

Consider the following statements describing our moral judgements:

10 Sep 2022 2
16 Aug 2022

Don't be a bystander to mass famine

In March 1964, The New York Times reported that 38 witnesses saw or heard a brutal, drawn-out, and ultimately fatal attack on a woman called Kitty Genovese, but none did anything to help her or even summoned the police. The report was later shown to be erroneous, but the "bystander effect" is real. As many psychology experiments have shown, an individual is less likely to come to the aid of another if they can see that other people who could help are not doing so.

16 Aug 2022 3
10 Mar 2021

When vaccination is a 'crime'

On Dec 29 last year, Hasan Gokal, the medical director of the Covid-19 response team in Harris County, Texas (which includes Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States by population), was supervising the administration of the Moderna vaccine, mostly to emergency workers. The vaccine comes in vials containing 11 doses. A vial, once opened, expires in six hours and unused vaccine must then be thrown away.

10 Mar 2021 1
15 Nov 2018

Stop buying Saudi oil

Khashoggi's murder should open our eyes to the Saudis' other murderous activities, using the money we pay for oil to indoctrinate in fundamentalist Islam.

15 Nov 2018 3
Stop buying Saudi oil
7 Jun 2017

Unfair to America?

Mr Trump's claim that the Paris climate agreement was unfair to the US does not withstand scrutiny when actually the US got off very lightly.

7 Jun 2017 1
Unfair to America?
10 Apr 2017

Boycott the US

If the US uses the cheapest available fuels to produce energy, it is giving its companies an unfair advantage over those making an effort to reduce emissions.

10 Apr 2017 3
Boycott the US
14 Aug 2015

Pioneer's fallacies still relevant now

In 1809, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, set to work on The Book of Fallacies. His goal was to expose the fallacious arguments used to block reforms like the abolition of "rotten boroughs" -- electorates with so few electors that a powerful lord or landowner could effectively select the member of parliament, while newer cities like Manchester remained unrepresented.

14 Aug 2015