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Peter Singer vows to donate million dollar philosophy prize

13 September 2021 at 5:08 pm
Luke Michael
Half the prize money will go to Singer’s own charity The Life You Can Save

Luke Michael | 13 September 2021 at 5:08 pm


Peter Singer vows to donate million dollar philosophy prize
13 September 2021 at 5:08 pm

Half the prize money will go to Singer’s own charity The Life You Can Save

After being announced as the winner of the 2021 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture, Australian philosopher Peter Singer has revealed he will be giving the US$1 million prize money away to charity.

The award recognises “thinkers whose ideas have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world”, and Singer was selected for his widely influential work reinvigorating utilitarianism as part of academic philosophy.

Singer – who was born in Melbourne but currently works at Princeton University in the US – is well known for shaping the animal rights and effective altruism movements in recent decades.

The announcement was made last week during an inauguration ceremony for the Berggruen Institute’s new centre – La Casa dei Tre Oci – in Venice.

The institute’s chair Nicolas Berggruen was full of praise for Singer’s work.

“Peter Singer has demonstrated the vital role of public philosophy in our world,” Berggruen said. 

“His ideas have provided a robust intellectual framework that has inspired conscientious individual action, better organised and more effective philanthropy, and entire social movements, with the lives of millions improved as a result.”

Singer said he was delighted that his work has been recognised by the institute. He pledged to donate his prize money to charity. 

“I will donate half the prize to The Life You Can Save, a charity I founded to spread the idea of giving to the most effective charities benefiting the world’s poorest people,” Singer said.

“Over the last three years, each dollar spent by The Life You Can Save generated an average of $17 in donations for our recommended high-impact, cost-effective nonprofits, which do tremendous work improving and saving the lives of people in extreme poverty.”

In an opinion piece for Project Syndicate, he said he also planned to donate more than a third of the money to organisations combating factory farming.

He added that he would be asking the public for help deciding where the rest of the funds should be directed. 

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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