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Publisher's Summary

Peter Singer is often described as the world's most influential philosopher. He is also one of its most controversial. The author of important books such as Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, Rethinking Life and Death, and The Life You Can Save, he helped launch the animal rights and effective altruism movements and contributed to the development of bioethics.

Now, in Ethics in the Real World, Singer shows that he is also a master at dissecting important current events in a few hundred words.

In this book of brief essays, he applies his controversial ways of thinking to issues like climate change, extreme poverty, animals, abortion, euthanasia, human genetic selection, sports doping, the sale of kidneys, the ethics of high-priced art, and ways of increasing happiness. Singer asks whether chimpanzees are people, smoking should be outlawed, or consensual sex between adult siblings should be decriminalized, and he reiterates his case against the idea that all human life is sacred, applying his arguments to some recent cases in the news.

In addition, he explores, in an easily accessible form, some of the deepest philosophical questions, such as whether anything really matters and what is the value of the pale blue dot that is our planet. The collection also includes some more personal reflections, like Singer's thoughts on one of his favourite activities, surfing, and an unusual suggestion for starting a family conversation over a holiday feast.

Provocative and original, these essays will challenge - and possibly change - your beliefs about a wide range of real-world ethical questions.

©2016 Peter Singer (P)2017 Audible Studios

Critic Reviews

"Peter Singer might well be the most important philosopher alive. He is certainly one of the most enjoyable to read, and it's a joy to browse through this collection of his smart short essays. This is public philosophy at its best - clear, controversial, and deeply rational." (Paul Bloom, author of Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil)
"An accessible introduction to the work of a philosopher who would not regard being described as 'accessible' as an insult.... Despite their brevity, the essays do not shirk the big moral questions." ( Economist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent Ethic-snacks for further reflections

Singer is a polished and effective communicator with a prodigious talent for bringing big issues down to bite-size dimensions.
The 82 essay format is because these are all re-prints of short (1000 word?) articles that have appeared in the various channels that publish Singer as a "columnist".
I found these to be great introductions to big issues...plenty to think about and a seduction to think more deeply!

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Very good overview of Singer's philosophy

82 Essays, articles, columns, and opinion pieces by Singer from various different publications, over 2 decades and on a long list of different subjects. Singer discusses the ethical aspects of, e.g., vegetarianissm and animal rights,, abortion, health, euthanasia, public policy, environment, science, feminism, and many other topics. If you want to get a broad insight into Singer's philosophy, this book is for you. Each article is short, good to read and expertly narrated.

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  • 10k
  • Down Under
  • 26-02-2018

Interesting but a tad dry

What about James Saunders’s performance did you like?

The performance was not particularly enthralling, but with all the repeated themes and the slightly predictable writing style, it's no wonder why.

Any additional comments?

This was wonderful to consume, in terms of the ideas involved, but the nature of collected articles made it a bit repetitive at times (no matter the importance of the ideas). Mosquito Nets are something I am going to have top of mind for a very long time (and I think that's a good thing).

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  • Sam
  • 05-02-2018

A good overview of Singer's views

A very accessible and well narrated overview of Singer's views on a wide range of ethical issues, from poverty alleviation and climate change to bioethics and privacy. This collection sacrifices depth in favour of breadth, drawing on a range of short essays that Singer has written for publications over the years.

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Makes you think

An interesting series of essays. Well delivered exploring a diversity of topics. The rationale and logic in some places is exceptional but in others I sense some unconscious bias but this does not affect the overall quality of what is on offer

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-06-2017

Perfect as an audiobook

Awesome. Incredibly digestible, readable and perfect as an audiobook. A definite recommendation for anyone interested in modern ethics.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Taake
  • 21-05-2017

Exactly what the title says

These essays are brief and to the point, very interesting but perhaps mot the most in-depth journeys into Singer's thoughts (he has other books for that though!). Basically perfectly bite-sized Ethics which is remarkably well suited for this audio-based format!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 17-08-2017

This book challenges ones ethics!

This book really challenges ones ethics. It made me think why am I doing the things I do when I have choice! As a lapsed vegetarian I am now back on track . Well narrated and stimulating topics. Highly recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 03-08-2017

Some interesting ideas. Needs more depth.

Singer's talent for finding the ethical in everything shows through but his inherent utilitarian view grates at times. A nod to some other views would help but this is simply a collection of opinion columns.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful