Past eventMembers

The Moral Obligations Owed to Strangers

9 June 2016 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Chatham House London, UK


Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University; Laureate Professor, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne; Author, Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Chair: Professor Angie Hobbs FRSA, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, University of Sheffield



Peter Singer has been described by the New Yorker magazine as the world’s “most influential living philosopher”. He will draw on the themes of his seminal essay, Famine, Affluence, and Morality, to argue that people have the same moral obligations to those far away as they do to those close to them.

What are our obligations to others in great need?  Governments and individuals in the Western world are increasingly confronted with this question by ongoing debates around what responsibility, if any, countries have to take in migrants and asylum seekers and, moreover, whether Western democracies should intervene to end the distant conflicts from which these displaced peoples are fleeing.

Singer contends that there is, both collectively and individually, a responsibility to help others in need, near or far, and people should do so as effectively as is possible.