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The Most Influential Living Philosopher?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact A. Kapila.

If you’re lucky enough to live without want, it’s a natural impulse to be altruistic. But what’s the most effective way to help others?

The New Yorker has called Peter Singer the planet’s “most influential living philosopher.” The Australian academic specializes takes a secular, utilitarian approach to applied ethics: minimize suffering, maximize well-being.

Singer draws fire from critics who suggest that his arguments set the bar so high that we are all living unethically. But Singer’s collective body of work is more acclaimed than controversial. He has written the classic text Practical Ethics and many other books, with more in progress.

You can find dozens of brief essays at Project Syndicate, where Singer examines the philosophical questions surrounding current topics like Obamacare, computer piracy and obesity.

We will begin by watching Singer’s 2013 TED talk, before moving on to a Skype Q&A session with him. As always, all are welcome, regardless of affiliation with the University of Cambridge.

What others say: “Singer’s work is challenging, not because his writing is difficult to understand but because it is all too clear. He … has a knack for pushing people out of their moral comfort zone.” — Scientific American, 10/22/12

This talk is part of the EA: Cambridge series.

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