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Animals and Philosophy
Date: 30 November 2007 Time: 11.00 am
Animals and Philosophy
Institute for Advanced Studies Building, Lancaster University
This workshop is free and open to all, but places are limited. To reserve a place please email Rachel Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org.
11.00 - 11.45 Stephen Clark (Lancaster University) Elves, Hobbits, Trolls and Talking Beasts (abstract below)
11.45 - 12.30 Simon James (Durham University) Phenomenology and the Problem of Animal Minds (abstract below)
12.30 - 1.00 Lunch
1.30 - 2.15 Dita Wickins-Drazilova (Lancaster University) Zoos: In the interest of animals? (abstract below)
2.15 - 3 Alan Holland (Lancaster University) Howwe talk about the experiences of animals (abstract below)
3.00 - 3.30 General discussion
Funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy
Organised by the Department of Philosophy
Abstract for Stephen Clark talk:
Once there were many hominid species, which there is some reason to think were 'people' (that is, talkative, time-binding, self-reflecting and religious animals.) In the future there may be many new hominid species, whether by planetary isolation or genetic engineering. Non-human lineages may also acquire whatever genetic base there is for supposedly distinctive 'human-like' activity. I examine these possibilities, and the moral feeling that so many have against them.
Abstract for Simon James talk:
Do any nonhuman animals have minds? We cannot, so to speak,get inside the head of an animal. How, then, can we know whether there is anything going on there? - Though familiar, the sceptical problem rests on some shaky conceptual foundations. In this talk, I argue that the 'problem of animal minds', as conventionally expressed, encourages an overly individualistic and overly 'mentalistic' conception of how, in our lives, we relate to others. I suggest, further, that our relations with nonhuman others, are best understood, not in terms of their 'mindedness' and our knowledge of it, but by means of a 'phenomenological' analysis of how, at a pre-reflective level, we interact with them. I conclude that, although reflecting on our relations with nonhuman animals raises all kinds of interesting philosophical issues, the problems of animal minds, as conventionally posed, is no problem at all.
Abstract for Dita Wickins-Drazilova talk:
The questions I will ask are: Is keeping animals in zoological gardens a 19th century anachronism or does it havea place in the 21st century? Is keeping animals in zoos in their own interest, is it in the interest of endangered species, or is it purely in the interest of humans?
Keepers of animals in zoos often claim that the proof of good welfare is that their animals are physically healthy, reproduce well, and live long lives. The second common assertion in favour of zoos is that their breeding programs play an important role in protection of endangered species. Thirdly, zoos seem to have significance for humans as scientific, educational and entertainment institutions. But I will dismiss all these claims: Welfare indicators are misleading, zoos are not very successful in their efforts to save species, zoos are expendable for science and education at the beginning of the 21st century, and there are no good arguments for the use of wild species for entertainment.
Abstract for Alan Holland talk:
If a lion could talk, says Wittgenstein, then we would not be able to understand him. On the other hand he is happy to ascribe beliefs, fears, expectations and the like to dogs. Animals are somehow strange, and somehow familiar. In this paper I propose a way in which we can talk about the experiences of animals that aims to do justice to our various, and possibly conflicting, intuitions about the subject.
Who can attend: Anyone
Organising departments and research centres: Philosophy
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