Singer, Chignell to talk food, ethics

Peter Singer will discuss his latest book, “Why Vegan? Eating Ethically,” with Andrew Chignell, professor of religion, philosophy and human values, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Register here.

From a Q&A with him about his book: “Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. What we eat has an immense impact: on billions of animals, on the climate of our planet, and as we now see, by raising the risk of pandemics, on every aspect of our lives. It is difficult to avoid knowing that it is possible to live without eating animal products, and easier still to shift to a largely, if not exclusively, plant-based diet. Yet habit still plays a huge role in dietary choices, which means, conversely, that many people never examine what they eat through the lens of ethics. Why Vegan? provides that ethical lens.”

From the Labyrinth piece on the book of essays: “Singer traces the historical arc of the animal rights, vegetarian, and vegan movements from their embryonic days to today, when climate change and global pandemics threaten the very existence of humans and animals alike. In his introduction and in the chapter “The Two Dark Sides of COVID-19,” cowritten with Paola Cavalieri, Singer excoriates the appalling health hazards of Chinese wet markets—where thousands of animals endure almost endless brutality and suffering—but also reminds westerners that they cannot blame China alone without also acknowledging the perils of our own factory farms, where unimaginably overcrowded sheds create the ideal environment for viruses to mutate and multiply.

Peter Singer is a moral philosopher and professor of bioethics at PU and also teaches at the University of Melbourne. He is author of Animal Liberation and The Ethics of What We Eat, among many other works.

Andrew Chignell teaches in Religion and Philosophy and directs the Project in Philosophy and Religion at the University Center for Human Values. Chignell studies modern European philosophers, philosophy of religion, the moral psychology of hope and despairaesthetics, and the ethics of belief.  He also has an interest in food ethics, and is currently refreshing his MOOC version of the Ethics of Eating course he taught at Cornell, which will run again in Spring 2021 on He is co-editor of “Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments about the Ethics of Eating.” In Spring ’21 he is teaching Religion, Ethics and Animals (REL 214/CHV 215).

The talk is organized by Labyrinth Books and is co-sponsored by High Meadows Environmental Institute (formerly Princeton Environmental Institute), the University Center for Human Values, the Princeton Public Library, the Princeton University Humanities Council, and the Food, Ethics, Psychology Conference.