Peter Singer

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Peter Singer (in full, Peter Albert David Singer) AC (born 6 July 1946), is an Australian moral philosopher and Emeritus Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He specialises in applied ethics, approaching the subject from a secular, utilitarian perspective. He most famously wrote the book Animal Liberation (1975), and in 2005, The Sydney Morning Herald placed him among Australia's ten most influential public intellectuals.[1]

Among MAPs, AAMs, pro-paraphile activists and their allies, Peter Singer is known for expressing skeptical views around the alleged harmfulness of some forms of human / non-human sexual contact, especially when contact is initiated by the non-human animal and does no demonstrable physical harm to the animal's body. He famously expressed this stance in a review of the book Dearest Pet: On Bestiality by Midas Dekkers, in an infamous piece titled "Heavy Petting" (2001).[2] The piece has been used as a catalyst for philosophy academics to debate bestiality, with some strongly criticizing,[3] and some conceding parts of Singer's arguments.[4] Later discussions in scholarship have tended to be more neutral,[5][6] and even supportive.[7] Singer is also known for co-founding of the Journal of Controversial Ideas. Controversial Ideas has published the The Pedophile as a Human Being: An Autoethnography for the Recognition of a Marginalized Sexual Orientation[8] - an autoethnography of an individual with largely hebephilic desires - and later Zoophilia Is Morally Permissible (Bensto, 2023),[9] the latter of which received massive media attention / exposure with at least 1 million people having seen Singer's twitter post about the article.


  1. Visontay, Michael (12 March 2005). "Australia's top 100 public intellectuals". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  2. Peter Singer, Heavy Petting. (Nerve, 2001).
  3. Piers Beirne. (2001). Peter Singer's "Heavy Petting" and the Politics of Animal Sexual Assault. Critical Criminology 10, pp. 43–55. (Sci-hub link).
  4. E.g. Neil Levy. (Fall 2003). What (if Anything) Is Wrong with Bestiality? in Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 444–456. (Sci-hub link).
  5. See especially: Joanna Bourke, Loving Animals: On Bestiality, Zoophilia and Post-Human Love (University of Chicago Press, 2020).
  6. Bassano, G. (2018). Bestialitatis and the New Ethics on “Human” Animals. Int J Semiot Law 31, 659–675.
  7. Bensto, F. (2023). Zoophilia Is Morally Permissible. Journal of Controversial Ideas, 3(2), 5.
  8. Vaerwaeter, B. (pseudonym) The Pedophile as a Human Being: An Autoethnography for the Recognition of a Marginalized Sexual Orientation. Journal of Controversial Ideas 2022, 2(1), 3; doi:10.35995/jci02010003.
  9. Op. cit. above.