Peter Cave read philosophy at University College London and King's College Cambridge. He has held lectureships in philosophy at University College London, University of Khartoum, Sudan, and City University London; he has been attached for many years to the Open University – and also lectures for New York University (London). Further, as a chartered financial planner, he is a principal examiner for the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Member of Population Matters, sits on the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and chairs the Humanist Philosophers of Great Britain – and is listed as Patron of the British Humanist Association. He is also keen supporter of the Wigmore Hall and English National Opera.
Author of numerous philosophical papers, both serious and humorous, Peter’s particular interests are paradoxes, ethical matters and life and death dilemmas. He has given guest philosophy lectures at, for example, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Bucharest and has edited collections and written articles for various publications. In previous decades, he was columnist on taxation and money myths for The Investor magazine.
Peter has scripted and presented BBC radio philosophy programmes – from a series on the Paradox Fair to more serious ones on John Stuart Mill. He often takes part in public debates on religion, ethics and socio-political matters, in Britain and on the Continent – and believes that one should ‘stand up and be counted’ when faced with some horrors, horrors that are often the result of religious belief or unbridled enthusiasm for capitalism.
His philosophy books include This Sentence is False: an introduction to philosophical paradoxes and Humanism. He is author of the light trilogy, Can a Robot Be Human?, What’s Wrong with Eating People? and Do Llamas Fall in Love? each one of which is subtitled 33 Perplexing Philosophy Puzzles. He also authored How to think like a bat – and 34 other really interesting uses of philosophy, reissued and revised as How to outwit Aristotle. In 2012 his Philosophy: A Beginner’s Guide appeared; and 2015 sees his Ethics: A Beginner’s Guide – both introductions being highly recommended – ‘lucid, witty, erudite, and wise’, ‘with his signature sharp style’.
As well as 2015 seeing publication of his book, Ethics, it also the year of his The Big Think Book: Discover Philosophy through 99 Perplexities.
Peter cannot resist writing grumpy, challenging or sceptical letters to newspapers, often published, often pointing out fallacies in the reasoning of political leaders, frequently critical of the current Zeitgeist that disparages the poor. He objects to the current obsession for thunderous beat music and everlasting screeches of building and road works.
He has occasionally dabbled in life drawing, is keen on opera, lieder and string quartets, lives in dust and in Soho – and is often seen with a glass of wine…or two.
‘Do you believe in a life to come?’ asks Clov of Hamm in a Samuel Beckett play, the answer being, ‘All my life’s been a life to come.’ ‘How true,’ reflects Peter Cave.