'How to Count Animals, More or Less'
We were honoured to welcome Professor Shelly Kagan to Oxford to deliver the 2016 Uehiro Lectures. The lectures were held on 14, 15 and 16 November 2016, and were very well-attended.
Much contemporary writing on animal ethics is "egalitarian" in the sense that otherwise similar harms (or goods) for people and nonhuman animals are thought to count equally. In this sense, animals and people can be said to have the same moral status ("pain is pain"). In these lectures, however, I will explore an alternative, hierarchical approach, according to which animals differ from people, and from one another, in terms of the moral significance of their lives, their goods and bads, and the various rights that they possess. I'll sketch what a hierarchical approach might look like in a consequentialist framework, and--more complicatedly--in a deontological one, closing with some thoughts about the position of animals in foundational moral theories.
Audio files of the lectures are available to download:
Lecture 1 'Consequentialism for Cows' [MP3]
Lecture 2 ' Deontology for Dogs' [MP3]
Lecture 3 'Foundation for Frogs' [MP3]
Shelly Kagan is Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale. After receiving his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1976, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1982, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois at Chicago before coming to Yale in 1995. He is the author of the textbook Normative Ethics, which systematically reviews alternative positions concerning the basic rules of morality and their possible foundations, and The Limits of Morality, which challenges two of the most widely shared beliefs about the requirements of morality. Other books includeDeath and The Geometry of Desert.