2021 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture Awarded to Public Philosopher Peter Singer

Statue of Charles Darwin at Natural History Museum

By Stephen Stuart On 22 Feb 2022

The latest accolade to the Melbourne-born philosopher, Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University, is worth one million dollars. Ever generous, Singer says he will donate the prize to charities, half to The Life You Can Save, the charity he founded to benefit the world’s poorest people, and some to combat the factory farming of animals. For the rest of the money, Singer appeals to the public to suggest the most effective destinations, saying, “I invite you to help me decide on the distribution, on the basis of the ethical approach outlined in The Life You Can Save, which is available as a free e-book and audiobook on the organization’s website, where you will be able to tell me what you think.

Read the announcement of this award.

Postscript from the charity. In December 2021, they had asked you to cast your vote and help them decide which of their recommended Best Charities would receive $100,000 of Peter’s prize money. Read the result here.

Singer has made his name by teaching and advocating for ethical decision-making on a consequentialist model – that is, trying to predict the most likely consequences of a decision. Appealing to intuition or universal morality is regarded as too unreliable. His consistently human-centred approach was recognized and celebrated in Australia by the award of Australian Humanist of the Year 2004.