Moral philosopher and Princeton University Press author Peter Singer has won the 2021 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture, a $1 million prize awarded annually to a thinker “whose ideas have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world.”
In announcing the Prize, Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman of the Berggruen Institute noted, “Peter Singer has demonstrated the vital role of public philosophy in our world. His ideas have provided a robust intellectual framework that has inspired conscientious individual action, better organized and more effective philanthropy, and entire social movements, with the lives of millions improved as a result.”
Writing in Project Syndicate, Singer announced his plans to donate the prize money to charity. Half will go to The Life You Can Save, an organization founded by Singer that maintains a curated list of independently assessed nonprofits targeting extreme poverty, and more than a third will go to groups working to combat factory farming. Singer is inviting suggestions for how to direct remaining funds, in alignment with the “ethical approach” mapped out in his book The Life You Can Save, which is available free of charge in ebook and audio editions on the organization’s website.
A widely influential, and controversial, public intellectual and preeminent figure in the animal rights movement, Singer first gained public prominence with the 1975 publication of Animal Liberation. Instrumental to the launch of both the animal rights and effective altruism movements, Singer has also contributed to the development of bioethics. He is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, jointly shared with his appointment as Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, attached to the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. Singer is the author of numerous books, including with PUP Ethics in the Real World—a collection of essays confronting real world ethical dilemnas—and The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress. Forthcoming from PUP in 2023 is Consider The Turkey, an exploration of the ethical implication of the mass consumption of Thanksgiving turkeys.