Episode 342

Animal Minds & Moral Truths

A Conversation with Peter Singer

November 27, 2023

Sam Harris speaks with Peter Singer about important problems in ethics. They discuss his career as a philosopher, the moral status of non-human animals, the ethics of moral hierarchies, speciesism, the scale of animal suffering, conscientious omnivores, animal experimentation, the tragic case of Sam Bankman-Fried, concerns about Effective Altruism, the problems with focusing on existential risk, the comparative nature of human suffering, the work of Derek Parfit, objective morality, and other topics.

Peter Singer, dubbed “the world’s most influential living philosopher” by The New Yorker, has written, co-authored, edited, or co-edited more than 50 books in over 25 languages, including Practical Ethics, Writings on an Ethical Life, The Life You Can Save, and more. His 1975 book Animal Liberation is often credited with starting the modern animal rights movement. His TED Talk has over 2.25 million views.

Singer was educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford and is currently the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University's Center for Human Values. When not teaching at Princeton, he lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife, Renata, with whom he enjoys hiking. He is also the author of Animal Liberation Now: The Definitive Classic Renewed (Harper; May 23, 2023) and The Buddhist and the Ethicist: Conversations on Effective Altruism, Engaged Buddhism, and How to Build a Better World (Shambhala; December 12, 2023).

Website: https://petersinger.info/

Twitter: @PeterSinger


Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.