Tuesday April 14th, 2009

The Controversial Mr. Singer

Emily Bobrow reviews Peter Singer’s new book (above), which focuses on individuals’ ethical responsibilities in fighting global poverty. It’s an issue that most people would agree is important, but Singer’s specific approach is built to stir debate. In other areas, like his views about animal rights and abortion and the rights of disabled humans, he has generated quite a bit of controversy, even outrage. I went rummaging to find a few clips of Singer through the years:

Here, he’s interviewed about his new book by Tyler Cowen on Bloggingheads, a site which could be renamed TV For People Who Shouldn’t Be On TV. (Cowen looks like he’s being held captive in a military lab somewhere. Singer looks like, well, Peter Singer at too-close range.) Still, parts of the conversation are compelling. Here’s Singer talking to a BBC reporter not too many years ago, and here he is being interviewed a thousand years ago, when mustaches were in the middle of their shameful steroids era. (I would recommend only a quick look at the mustache in the last clip, because it is fierce. The talk about Hegel is less so.)