Center for Values and Social Policy
Events


upcoming

Center Talks
Ethics Bowl
Morris Colloquium
RoME
Think!

THINK! a public lecture series

A series of public lectures sponsored by the Center for Values and Social Policy in the Department of Philosophy, CU-Boulder. These lectures are funded through the generosity of The Collins Foundation.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all talks run from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel, on the CU Boulder campus. All lectures are free and intended for the public. Contact Annaleigh Curtis with any questions.

Fall 2012 Schedule

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Why Blackmail Should Be Legal"
David Boonin (CU Boulder)


David is legally free to decide whether or not to reveal embarrassing personal information about Alastair. Alastair is legally free to decide whether or not to give David some of his money. David's act of blackmailing Alastair seems to be nothing more than a combination of David and Alastair exercising these two freedoms. But David's act of blackmailing Alastair is illegal. In this talk, Professor Boonin will present a puzzle that arises from these facts, consider a variety of solutions that have been offered to the puzzle, argue that none of these solutions are satisfactory, and conclude that blackmail should be legal.

 

7:30–9:00 pm in Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.

 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Is Premarital Abstinence Immoral?"
Alastair Norcross (CU Boulder)


Many people claim that premarital sex is immoral. Some groups, such as "True Love Waits", even pressure teenagers to sign a pledge to abstain before marriage. But, given the seriousness of the promises we make to each other when we marry, and the high incidence of divorce, with its attendant harm for all involved, especially the children, perhaps it's actually premarital abstinence that's immoral. We owe it to our partners and our children not to make serious promises, before getting as much evidence as we can that we will keep those promises. To protect the institution of marriage, and for the sake of the children, we need to recognize the serious immorality of premarital abstinence.

 

7:30–9:00 pm in Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.

 

Past THINK! lectures

Spring 2012 Schedule

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Killing and Priming: Some Recent Research into Moral Evidence"
Brian Talbot (CU Boulder)

Whether or not some one person has killed another is morally significant... isn't it? This talk discusses a relatively novel approach to investigating the moral significance of killing: studying the evidence we have about the morality of killing to see if it is good evidence. We can study the quality of this evidence partly through research into its psychological basis. The talk will discuss some recent research into this that was conducted on the C.U. Boulder campus. This research has implications for our personal lives, for public policy, and for philosophy as well.

 

7:30–9:00 pm in Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Should You Try to Be Morally Perfect?"
Diana Hsieh, Ph.D. (2009 CU Alumna)

Most people dismiss any ideal of moral perfection as beyond their reach. "I'm only human," they say. That view is a legacy of Christianity, which teaches that moral perfection is possible to God alone and that any attempt at moral perfection is the sin of pride. In sharp contrast, Ayn Rand argues that moral perfection is not only possible to ordinary people, but also necessary for anyone who wants to live a virtuous and happy life. Hence, pride, understood as moral ambitiousness, is one of her seven major virtues -- as seen in the heroes of her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

This talk will explore Ayn Rand's views of moral perfection, ambition, and pride. What does she think that morality demands? How can people achieve that? How should people respond to their own moral wrongs and errors? We will compare Rand's answers to these questions to those of Aristotle. We will find that, despite some differences in each philosopher's conception of virtue, they share the compelling view that seeking moral perfection is crucially important to a person's life and happiness.

 

7:30–9:00 pm in Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Political Legitimacy and Territorial Rights"
Kit Wellman (Washington University in St. Louis)

Few deny that states should be delineated territorially, but questions abound as to what moral rights states can claim to which parcels of territory. In other words, even if one assumes that states can be legitimate and must be territorially districted (and not everyone does, of course), why think that Norway is entitled to exclusive jurisdiction over the particular piece of territory it currently occupies? And even if Norway does have a special claim to this land, what rights does this give it against which parties? More specifically, does Norway have exclusive rights of jurisdiction (the right to make and enforce law on its territory), resources (the right to control and consume the natural resources available in its territory), and/or border control (the right to design and enforce its own immigration policy as it sees fit)?

It is tempting to suppose that legitimate states enjoy these three rights to jurisdiction, resources, and border control. It is far from clear, however, how the dominant approach to political legitimacy -- functional accounts -- can ground these rights. Thus, prominent authors like David Miller have recently suggested that functional theories of political legitimacy must be replaced or at least supplemented with nationalist elements. I am not convinced that invoking a nation's claim to territory can do the desired work, but I shall not press this critique here. In this paper, I shall merely explore how a functional theorist might try to ground a legitimate state's claims to jurisdiction, border control and resources. In my view, functional theorists can provide plausible accounts of the first two territorial rights, but it remains unclear how they can justify the third. Assuming that this is correct, the plausibility of non-nationalist functional theories of political legitimacy will depend upon whether natural resources should be understood as belonging exclusively to the citizens of the country in which they lie.

6:30-8:00pm in Eaton Humanities 135. Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Elections by Contract: An African Covenant of Justice and Legitimacy
Ajume Wingo (CU Boulder)

ABSTRACT: Professor Wingo has developed a new electoral system with the potential to solve many African democratic problems, from which Americans can learn a great deal about their own electoral system.

 

7:30–9:00 pm in Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.



Past THINK! lectures

Summer/Fall 2011 Schedule

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Constructing Practical Ethics"
Dale Jamieson (NYU)

In this talk my aim is to shed light on contemporary practices by exposing some of their origins. I proceed by presenting a broad history of practical ethics that is somewhat speculative and impressionistic. My most general conclusion is that the diversity of activities collected under the rubric of “practical ethics” is fed by a wide range of intellectual and cultural sources. Seeing contemporary practices in the light of their historical background will, I hope, contribute to greater methodological self-consciousness and sophistication, and help to clarify the relationship of practical ethics to the discipline of philosophy.

 

5:30–7:00 pm in Humanities 1B50. Free and open to the public.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"...But What About the Animals?"
Cheshire Calhoun (Arizona State)

Immanuel Kant famously claimed that we have no direct duties to animals and that animals are things that we may dispose of as we will. Even Kantian moral philosophers have sometimes called this a repugnant moral doctrine. Utilitarian ethics, by contrast, gives us a much more animal-friendly account of our moral obligations: we are obligated to take into account the interests of all sentient animals, both human and nonhuman. However, there is much that is attractive in Kant's moral thinking-especially his emphasis on the importance of not using persons for one's own ends and of avoiding contempt and arrogance. So it is worth taking a second look at Kant's relatively brief and scattered remarks about animals before concluding that utilitarianism provides a superior account of our duties to animals. In this lecture, I imagine asking Kant, "But what about the animals?" And I come to the surprising conclusion that Kant offers us helpful ways of thinking not just about animal welfare but also about the attitudes a well-formed moral agent should have toward nonhuman animals and about the morally appropriate responses to the service animals and pets with whom we share a social world.

 

5:30–7:00pm in Humanities 1B50. Free and open to the public.


 

Spring 2011 Schedule

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?"
John Corvino (Wayne State University)

Is homosexuality unnatural? Does gay marriage threaten society? Is sexual orientation hardwired, and does that matter to the debate? Combining philosophical rigor with sensitivity and humor, Dr. John Corvino — aka "The Gay Moralist" from 365gay.com — answers these questions and more. In the process, he challenges people from all sides of the debate to rethink easy assumptions about sexuality, morality, and society.

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Philosophy and Race: The Whiteness of Being"
Charles Mills (Northwestern University)

Philosophy is one of the "whitest" of the humanities, both demographically and conceptually. The demographic claim is undeniable, but the conceptual claim may seem more dubious and controversial. In this talk, I will try to demonstrate its accuracy, as well as giving some possible recommendations about how to make philosophy a more inclusive and welcoming discipline for racial minorities.

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in HUMN 250. Free and open to the public.

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"The Paths for the Perplexed: The Perils of Leadership in Modern Africa"
Ajume Wingo (University of Colorado)

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.

Fall 2010 Schedule

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Time Travel"
Bradley Monton (University of Colorado)

Is time travel possible? Could you change the past? Could someone be their own mother and father? If time travel is possible, where are all the time travelers?

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Report on the Search for the Worst Thing in the World"
Michael Huemer (University of Colorado)

The world contains so many awful or frightening things to worry about — cancer, global warming, terrorism, the threat of nuclear war, and so on. But which is the worst thing? After considering the numbers of lives affected or likely to be affected by each problem, Professor Huemer discusses which problems are the strongest candidates for “worst thing in the world,” and which are overblown. Many strong candidates for the world’s most serious problem are hardly discussed at all and have prompted far less concern than other, much smaller problems. Most of the worst problems in the world are problems that we are making little or no effort to solve.

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.

Spring 2010 Schedule

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Virtues and Video Games: How Should You Feel About Simulated Evil Acts?"
Brian Talbot (University of Colorado)

Recent video games have allowed players to participate in the simulated murder, rape, and torture of innocents. What is the moral status of these acts, and of those who participate in them? How should such acts and such players affect us? This talk will investigate these questions by looking at the connection between video game acts and the character of players from both the philosophical and psychological perspectives.

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Divinely Mandated Genocide in the Bible: Is God Bad? Or Is the Bible Wrong about God?"
Wes Morriston (University of Colorado)

Many people believe both that God is perfectly good and that the Bible contains an accurate portrait of God’s character and behavior. I will argue that this combination of views cannot be sustained in the face of biblical texts that represent God as having commanded genocidal warfare.

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"What Is Wrong with the World, and Who Is to Blame?"
Michael Tooley (University of Colorado)

The list of things that are wrong with the world would be a very long one indeed. I shall argue, however, that most of the world’s ills have their source in three related things: irrational beliefs, the absence of a capacity for critical thought, and a general unwillingness to think seriously about important matters.

 

If this is right, who is to blame? The obvious answer is that educators are to blame. It would be difficult initially, however, to make the needed changes at the primary and secondary school levels because of the control that communities and politicians exercise over the schools. The universities, however, are not generally subject to such control, and their failure to develop in students a strong capacity for critical thought, to provide students with crucial information, and to encourage them very strongly to think seriously about fundamental beliefs and values, is unacceptable.

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.


 

 

Fall 2009 Schedule

Tuesday, October 20

"It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog, or a Chicken: Why You Shouldn't Eat Meat"
Alastair Norcross (University of Colorado)

If someone were to torture dogs just for human pleasure, we would be outraged (remember Michael Vick?), and rightly so. But every year in the US alone billions of animals suffer horribly while being intensively reared for human consumption. Given the easy availability of cheap vegetarian foods, eating meat is no more essential to human well-being than is attendance at dog-fighting events. Why think it's acceptable to do to chickens, pigs, and veal calves what would be unconscionable to do to dogs?

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public.

 

Tuesday, October 6

"America’s Crumbling Economy"
Michael Huemer (University of Colorado)

What just happened to America's economy? What caused the housing bubble, and what should we do, as individuals and as a society, to prevent similar occurrences in the future? Will the government's stimulus measures help, or only make things worse? What lies ahead for the U.S. economy? Philosophy professor Michael Huemer will discuss these and other questions this Tuesday evening.

 

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public

 

Thursday, August 6

"Abortion and Personal Identity"
Don Marquis (University of Kansas)


5:30 - 7:00 pm, Humanities 1B50. Free and open to the public.

 

Abstract: Abortion is presumptively seriously immoral for the same reason it is wrong to end YOUR life: Ending your life deprives you of the experiences you would have valued had you continued to live. Some have argued that because no fetus is the same person as the adult she would become, an abortion is different from ending the life of an older human being in a morally significant way. I argue that this view is incorrect.

 

Spring 2009 Schedule

Tuesday, January 27

"Where Is My Mind?"
Rob Rupert (CU-Boulder)


7:30 - 9:00 pm, Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public.

 

This lecture critically evaluates the view that the mind extends into the environment. Recent decades have seen an explosion of scientific research on the mind. Much of this work emphasizes the environment's active role in human problem-solving. What does the success of such research tell us about the mind? Do external contributors to problem-solving partly constitute the human mind? Is, for instance, my computer's hard drive part of me? Some philosophers and cognitive scientists say 'yes', and we shall try to understand and evaluate the reasons offered in support of this revolutionary claim.

Monday, March 2

"Making a Virtue of Selfishness? A Debate about Ayn Rand's Ethics"
Onkar Ghate (Ayn Rand Institute) and Michael Huemer (CU-Boulder)


7:30 - 9:00 pm, Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public

 

Dr. Onkar Ghate: "Ayn Rand challenges the idea, dominant in the West since Christianity, that morality consists of commandments. Even though this conception of morality has often been secularized, its essence has remained:
the source of morality is something external to the self, to which the self owes obedience. In sharp contrast, Rand correctly argues that the nature and purpose of morality is to teach one how to achieve one's self-interest."

Dr. Michael Huemer: "Ayn Rand champions an excessively egoistic ethic, one in which individuals must place themselves before everyone and everything else. This ethic can lead one to hurt, exploit, or simply ignore the needs of others, when it suits one's own interests to do so. Rand's ethic of selfishness clashes with the moral sense of philosophers, spiritual leaders, and ordinary people the world over. These people are not all wrong -- Ayn Rand is wrong."

Link to mp3: selfish.mp3

Tuesday, April 14

"Freedom in the Making of Peace "

Ajume WIngo (CU-Boulder)

Why is virulent conflict such a fixture of life in most of the developing world? Why is it that in the wake of bloody conflicts, people in the developing world look not to justice (as in the Western world) but to reconciliation as a way forward to peaceful coexistence? Dr. Ajume Wingo argues that the conflicts we find in Africa and the Middle East do not imply that ethnic, cultural, political, religious, and cultural differences between parties there are necessarily deeper or more passionate than those found between groups in Western Europe or North America. Why, and how, different societies respond to deep differences between individuals and groups holds the key to understanding the bloodletting conflicts we see in different societies around the world today. He also will examine Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's recent proposal for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the misdeeds of the Bush administration.

 

7:30 - 9:00 pm, Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public.

 

 

Fall 2008 Schedule

Tuesday, October 7

"What's Wrong with Racial Profiling"
David Boonin (CU-Boulder)


Racial profiling is a policy that takes race (or perceived race) into account when determining which people should be investigated, or how thoroughly they should be investigated, in the attempt to reduce crime. Polls consistently show that most Americans, all across the political spectrum, find it objectionable. But while it seems clear to many people that racial profiling is wrong, Dr. Boonin will argue that it is surprisingly difficult to say just what, precisely, is wrong with it.

7:30-9:00 p.m., Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, October 28

"An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design"
Bradley Monton (CU-Boulder)


The doctrine of intelligent design has been maligned by atheists, but even though I'm an atheist, I'm of the opinion that the arguments for intelligent design are stronger than most realize. After trying to figure out what the doctrine of intelligent design actually is, I'll argue that it's legitimate to view intelligent design as science, that there are somewhat plausible arguments for the existence of a cosmic designer, and that intelligent design should be taught in public school science classes.

7:30-9:00 p.m., Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public.

Link to mp3: id.mp3

Tuesday, November 18

"Why You Don't Have to Love Nature to Be Green"
Ben Hale (CU-Boulder)


7:30-9:00 p.m., Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public.

For many years running, the clarion call of environmentalism has been to extol the virtues of nature, to carry on about the magnificence of mountains and polar bears. Nature's preciousness has been trumpeted by almost all of the luminaries in the environmental movement. And yet, this sentimental refrain doesn't resonate with the millions of people who simply don't find nature all that compelling. In this talk, I'll side with the challenger. I'll argue that though you wouldn't know it by asking your environmentalist
friends, you don't have to love nature to be green.

Spring 2008 Schedule

Thursday, February 21st

"Why No One Needs to Fear Going to Hell"
Wes Morriston (CU-Boulder)

 

In June 2007, the Gallup Poll reported that eighty six percent of Americans believe in God, and that sixty nine percent believe in hell. Dr. Morriston will argue that if you believe in God, you probably should not believe in hell -- at least not if you think that God is very good and hell is a very bad place to be. Along the way, he'll be taking a critical look at one popular attempt to explain why a just and loving God would allow many people to spend eternity in hell -- an application of the so-called free will defense to the special case of hell.

7:30-9:00 p.m., Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public.

Click here for an audio recording of this event.

Click here for Professor Morriston's slides from this lecture.

Thursday, March 6th

"Two Cheers for Affirmative Action"
David Boonin (CU-Boulder)

 

People on both sides of the affirmative action debate tend to agree that the issue is a matter of justice. Defenders of the practice maintain that affirmative action is morally required while opponents maintain that it is morally prohibited. One side thinks it's wrong to practice affirmative action, in other words, while the other side thinks it's wrong not to do so. In this talk, Professor Boonin will critically examine a number of arguments that have been given for and against affirmative action and will argue that both sides are wrong.

7:30-9:00 p.m., Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public.

Thursday, April 24th

"Is Virtue Only a Means to Happiness? An Analysis of Virtue and Happiness in Ayn Rand's Writings"
Neera Badhwar (University of Oklahoma)

 

In Ayn Rand's ethics, as presented in her fiction and philosophic works, what is the ultimate value and what is its relationship to virtue? Professor Badhwar will argue that Rand's views on these topics are inconsistent, but that the dominant view in her fiction is that the ultimate value is happiness, understood as eudaimonia (rather than life), and that virtue is partly constitutive of happiness (rather than merely a means to it). This dominant view is also the true view. Along the way, she will also examine Rand's view of the emotions and compare her ethical views with Aristotle's.

7:30-9:00 p.m., Old Main Chapel, Free and open to the public.

Fall 2007 Schedule

Thursday, September 13th

"The Search for Extraterrestrials: What is Life?"
Carol Cleland (CU-Boulder)

 

Abstract:

Many scientists and lay persons assume that the search for extraterrestrial life requires a definition of "life." I argue that this is a mistake. What is needed to answer the scientific question "what is life?" is not a definition but a general theory of living systems, which we currently lack.
In the absence of such a theory, we are in a position analogous to someone from the seventeenth century trying to define "water" before the advent of molecular theory. No analysis of the seventeenth century concept of water could have revealed that water is H20. Yet this is what is required to answer the question "what is water?" The upshot is that it is a mistake to design instrument packages for detecting extraterrestrial life around a specific definition of "life." But this seems to result in a dilemma: If we don't have a definition of "life" to guide the design of biological instrument packages, how will we recognize truly alien life if we find it?
I discuss a strategy for circumventing this problem.

 

Public Lecture: Claudia Mills (CU-Boulder)

Thursday, October 11th

8:00 to 9:30 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel

"Honor Thy Mother and Father. But Why? "

 

Public Lecture: Simon Sparks (Oglethorpe University)

Thursday, November 8th

8:00 to 9:30 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel

"What Counts As Art?"

 

Spring 2007 Schedule

Tuesday, January 23rd

"Dangerous Professors and Academic Freedom"

Alison Jaggar (CU-Boulder)

 

Abstract:

This talk offers an account of academic freedom. By way of context, it begins with a brief history of challenges to academic freedom at the University of Colorado and then turns to the following questions. Who enjoys academic freedom and which of their activities does it protect? What is the relationship of academic freedom to constitutionally and internationally protected civil liberties? From whom or what does academic freedom provide protection? Is academic freedom compatible with public accountability? What are the rationales for academic freedom?

 

Tuesday, March 13th

"Justice in War: A Debate "

Yaron Brook (Ayn Rand Institute) and Martin Cook (US Air Force Academy)

Note: This event will be held in the Wittemyer Courtroom in the Wolf Law Building, here), at the usual time of 8 to 9:30 p.m.

 

Dr. Martin Cook (abstract & bio)

For centuries the "just war tradition" has provided a moral framework for assessing the justification for the use of military force and also the methods for its application. The "sole remaining superpower" status of the United States, coupled with the exigencies of the "war on terror" (or "the long war") raise questions about the continued applicability of that tradition. Dr. Cook will examine this question and note areas where existing just war standards (especially as codified in International Law) are challenged by this new strategic environment.

 

Dr. Martin L. Cook is Professor of Philosophy and Deputy Department Head at the United States Air Force Academy. He has lectured widely in the United States to military and civilian audiences, as well as delivered invited lectures to the military educational institutions of the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Norway, Singapore, and Australia. His most recent book is The Moral Warrior: Ethics and Service in the US Military.

 

Dr. Yaron Brook (abstract & bio)

America's failed "War on Terrorism" is the result, not of any practical inability to defeat the Islamic Totalitarian movement and its state sponsors, but its leaders' moral unwillingness to wage all-out war in self-defense. American leaders accept the altruistic code of "Just War Theory," which demands that a nation follow self-sacrificial restrictions for the sake of its enemies and their supporters. Dr. Brook will advocate an alternative theory of war based on Ayn Rand's ethics of rational egoism, arguing that a government is right to go to war whenever the rights of its citizens are threatened by a foreign aggressor and to do anything necessary to defeat the enemy and return to normal life.

 

Dr. Yaron Brook is president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. A former finance professor, he has published in academic as well as popular publications. In addition to his frequent interviews by the media, he lectures on Objectivism, business ethics, and foreign policy at college campuses and for corporations across America and throughout the world. He is the co-author of "'Just War Theory' vs. American Self-Defense" published in The Objective Standard, Spring 2006.

 

Tuesday, April 3rd

Michael Tooley (CU-Boulder)
TBA

 

Fall 2006

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

“Why Johnny Can’t Think or Distinguish Right from Wrong”

Brad Thompson (Clemson)

 

Abstract

What’s wrong with America’s adolescent boys? Why are they so angry, and why are they committing mass murder in America's government schools? How are we to understand and explain what happened at Columbine high school?

 

In this lecture, C. Bradley Thompson rejects the leading theories of conservatives and liberals and instead advances a radical proposition—that the cause of America’s epidemic of school shootings is to be found in the schools themselves. He argues that the root cause for all these shootings might very well be found in the destruction of the minds and souls of America's young people by an education establishment bent on using our children as guinea pigs for their bizarre experiments in schooling.

 

C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism.

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

“What We Owe to Animals: A Debate”

David Barnett and Robert Hanna (CU-Boulder)

 

David Barnett (abstract)

 

People who take the interests of men more seriously than those of women are sexists. People who take the interests of whites more seriously than those of blacks are racists. And people who take the interests of humans more seriously than those of non-humans are speciesists. Today sexism and racism are generally considered immoral. Speciesism, however, continues to be seen as morally acceptable. Most people believe, for instance, that it is more important to prevent humans from experiencing pain than to prevent pigs, chickens, and cows from experiencing pain. Following the lead of Peter Singer, I will argue that speciesism, like sexism and racism, is immoral. If my argument is sound, then we need to reevaluate our treatment of non-human animals, including such practices as factory farming and animal experimentation.

 

Robert Hanna (abstract)

 

My argument aims to establish three theses. The first thesis is that

there is good reason to believe that the pain of human or nonhuman animals that are persons in the moral sense, especially insofar as that pain is experienced as suffering, is substantially more morally significant than the pain of any species of animals that are not persons.

This is what I call the Moral Comparison Principle. The Moral Comparison Principle and the argument that supports it jointly entail my second thesis, the Killing-or-Using Principle, which says that

it is morally permissible to kill or use, with some amount of pain, nonhuman animals that are not persons, although the amount of pain inflicted for those purposes should be strictly minimized and it is also impermissible to torture them.

Consistently with both the Moral Comparison Principle and the Killing-or-Using Principle, I think that it is also plausible to assert the following thesis:

by means of an extension of our other-directed moral feelings, we can collectively agree to treat select groups of nonpersons temporarily or permanently as if they were persons.

This is what I will call Associate Membership in the Kingdom of Ends. The conjunction of these three theses is what I will call the Person-Based Theory of the morality of our treatment of nonhuman animals.

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

“Integral Ecology”

Michael Zimmerman (CU/Boulder)

 

Abstract

Drawing on the theoretical work of Ken Wilber, Michael E. Zimmerman outlines the principles of integral ecology, a multi-perspectival approach to characterizing and proposing solutions to environmental problems. Integral ecology emphasizes that natural science is crucial for understanding environmental problems, but so are the humanities, social sciences, arts, and other domains of inquiry. Many human-caused environmental problems arise from cultural attitudes and social practices that lie beyond the purview of the natural sciences. While welcoming insight from the perspectives of all pertinent stakeholders and investigators, integral ecology also emphasizes that some perspectives are better - that is, more comprehensive, inclusive, integrative - than others. With co-author Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Professor Zimmerman is completing a book on this topic, Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World.

 

 

past

Cheshire Calhoun
"...But What About the Animals?"
August 5, 2011

Dale Jamieson
"Constructing Practical Ethics"
August 4, 2011

John Corvino
"What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?"
February 1, 2011

Charles Mills
"What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?"
March 10, 2011

Ajume Wingo
"The Paths for the Perplexed: The Perils of Leadership in Modern Africa"
April 27, 2011

(under construction; more below)


Philosophy Main  |  Center Contacts  |  CU Contacts  |  Legal & Trademarks
© 2001 Regents of the University of Colorado

    University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309  ·  Campus Directory Information: (303) 492-1411