I have a dim recollection of Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian philosophy from a course in college. Utilitarianism appealed to me at a time when I was more certain of myself intellectually and more academically confident that I have been since. It had something to do with being a sophomore, I believe. For utilitarians, moral behavior is that which increases happiness and reduces human suffering.
You could make the case that Peter Singer has done more good than anyone else alive. A professor of ethics at Princeton University, Singer is the author of Animal Liberation (1975), which instigated the modern animal rights movement. Singer didn’t give us cruelty-free cosmetic production or vegetarian restaurants, but he has done more than anyone else to popularize such ideas.
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