July 6, 2022

Peter Singer on his days off

Peter Singer has been hailed as “one of the world’s top 100 influential people” and one of “the most influential philosophers alive” and reviled as “a public advocate of genocide”. But few articles have touched upon his personal life.

Peter Singer has been hailed as “one of the world’s top 100 influential people” and one of “the most influential philosophers alive” and reviled as “a public advocate of genocide”. But few articles have touched upon his personal life.

Recently the Jerusalem Post caught up with him and asked him about his Jewish heritage. He told the newspaper that his family celebrates the Jewish Passover, that he celebrates Purim with his grandchildren, and that he celebrates Rosh Hashanah. However, he says, Jewish traditions “did not play much of a role” in his life even though his own family’s history did play a part in the development of his theories.

“As three of my grandparents died in the Holocaust, and the fourth was fortunate to survive in Theresienstadt, that was very much present in my life. I am sure that it had some impact on my thought — on my abhorrence of cruelty, of the naked use of power over the defenseless and, of course, of racism.”

His parents gave him the choice of whether to have a bar mitzvah celebration, and he declined. His most recent pet cause is global poverty, which he argues can be significantly alleviated, if not entirely eliminated, by charity, or tzedakah. ~ Jerusalem Post, Jul 1

Peter Singer on his days off
Jared Yee
Creative commons
Peter Singer