Peter Singer named world’s third most influential global thought leader in 2013

February 14 / 129

University Laureate Professor Peter Singer has been named the world’s third most influential contemporary thinker in a study conducted by Swiss think tank the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI).

The GDI’s ‘Global Thought Leader’ ranking identifies the world’s most important thinkers and their ideas, which impact the global discourse on the future of society, and are defining and shaping our lives.

Professor Singer was one of four philosophers included in the top five, and the only Australian named in the list of the top 100 influential thinkers. 

The study measured the significance of thought leaders’ networks across countries and subject areas, as well as their presence on platforms such as Twitter or YouTube.

America’s Al Gore was rated the most influential thinker for his Global Marshall Plan initiative while German sociologist and philosopher Jurgen Habermas was celebrated for his contribution to public sphere theory.

His defence of utilitarianism was seen as his ‘most notable idea’.

Professor Singer said he was delighted to be featured in a list of notable world thinkers such as physicist Stephen Hawkings, psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Joseph Stiglitz.  

“If we needed any proof that philosophy changes lives, then this independent study’s finding that four of the five most influential contemporary thinkers are philosophers surely nails it,” he said.

Professor Singer is a celebrated philosopher and ethicist and has published several notable works including The Life You Can Save: Acting now to end world poverty (Text, 2009) and Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for our Treatment of Animals (first published 1975, revised edition HarperCollins, 2009).

In 2005, he was included in Time magazine's list of the world's most influential people. He became a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2012.

Professor Singer is Laureate Professor at the University’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies and Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Centre for Human Values at Princeton University.

His next project applies the works of the nineteenth century English utilitarian Henry Sidgwick to issues in contemporary ethics.

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