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International Conference On Convergence and Divergence between Animal and Environmental Ethics

November 28, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

International Conference On Convergence and Divergence between Animal and Environmental Ethics

Call for young researcher proposals

The Centre de Recherche en Éthique (CRE) in association with the Groupe de recherche en éthique environnementale et animale (GRÉEA) will host an international conference on Convergence and Divergence between Animal and Environmental Ethics, which will be held in Montreal, on May 17-19, 2017.

The organizing committee of the conference (see below) invites graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and non-tenure track assistant professors to submit paper proposals to be considered for inclusion in the program of the conference. Papers addressing any philosophical issue relevant to the conference theme are welcome.

Up to four proposals will be selected. Each participant will have 45 minutes to present his or her paper and will benefit from a 45 minutes discussion with invited speakers and other participants. Submission format and procedure: Please submit a 300-500 words abstract formatted for blind review (exclude any personal and institutional information). Email your submission as a Word or PDF attachment at: valery.giroux@umontreal.ca.

Submission deadline: Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

Funding: The CRE will provide assistance for participant’s transportation and lodging expenses.

Description: « [T]wo streams of thought meet and are woven together… [in]to the beginnings of what, I believe, will be a lasting marriage. (Though I have no illusions about the tranquility of that particular relationship.) » (Singer 1992)
Environmental ethics and animal ethics have much in common. For one thing, each field has firmly established itself over just the past few decades. On the theoretical side, this has meant the founding of journals like The Journal of Animal Ethics and Environmental Ethics; and on the practical side, the organization of activist groups running the gamut from polite to militant. For the most part, both fields have also shared a commitment to non-anthropocentrism. As the editor of a recent anthology put it, « Environmental ethics [which for him includes animal ethics] begins the moment we reject the view that only humans can be moral patients… » (Williston 2016). In other words, humans are not the only entities in the universe worthy of direct moral concern.
Animal and environmental ethics have tended to differ, however, on the question of just which other entities do count for their own sakes (rather than merely for the sake of humans). Environmental ethicists have often included all individual animals, plants, and other organisms; along with « soils, waters » and the ecosystemic « community as such » (Leopold 1949). In contrast, animal ethicists have tended to limit their direct moral concern to beings able to experience joy and suffering (Singer 1975). Animal and environmental ethicists have also largely applied their respective theories to different domains, i.e., domesticated animals including pets, livestock, and laboratory subjects; vs. wild organisms, species, and ecosystems.
However, humans are causing increasingly strong interactions between the wild and domestic realms. For example, the overfishing of wild populations has induced a massive rise in fish farms. Conversely, scientists now identify animal agriculture in general as the world’s leading cause of biodiversity loss (Machovina et al. 2015). Furthermore, it has been nearly 25 years since two important book-length anthologies focused on the relationships between environmental and animal ethics (Hargrove 1992, Ryder 1992). We therefore plan to host a conference on the topic in May 2017, and to publish a new edited volume based on it.
The conference will bring together major established scholars, as well as up-and-coming researchers, in both fields. Speakers will address convergence and divergence between animal and environmental ethics. To wit, how much overlap is there between the policies that would be morally required for the sake of animals alone (including humans), vs. those required for the sake of organisms (including animals), entire species, and ecosystems? We will focus on answers to this question in the following contexts: (1) the wild vs. domesticated spheres, (2) predation by some non-human animals upon others, and (3) animal agriculture.

Reference:
Hargrove, E. C., editor. 1992. The Animal Rights, Environmental Ethics Debate. State University of New York, Albany, NY.
Leopold, A. 1949. A Sand County Almanac. Oxford University. New York, NY.
Machovina, B., K. J. Feeley, and W. J. Ripple. 2015. Biodiversity conservation: The key is reducing meat consumption. Science of the Total Environment 536:419-431.
Ryder, R. D., editor. Animal Welfare and the Environment. Gerald Duckworth. London, UK.
Singer, P. 1975. Animal Liberation. Avon. New York, NY.
Singer, P. 1992. Foreword. In: Ryder, R. D., op. cit.
Williston, B. 2016. Moral standing. In: Williston, B., editor. Environmental Ethics for Canadians. Oxford University. Toronto, ON. P. 25.

Organizing committee:

Gregory Mikkelson (McGill University)
Mauro Rossi (Université du Québec à Montréal)
Valéry Giroux (Centre de recherche en éthique)
Sophia Rousseau-Mermans (Université de Montréal, Université Paris 1)
Christine Tappolet (Université de Montréal)
Frédéric Bouchard (Université de Montréal)

Invited presentators (alphabetical order):

• John Baird Callicott, University of North Texas, North Texas, USA
• Mark Budolfson, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Vermont, Vermont, USA
• Ned Hettinger, Philosophy, College of Charleston, South Carolina, USA
• Oscar Horta, Department of Logic and Moral Philosophy, University of Santiago de Compostela, A Coruna, Spain
• Virginie Maris, Centre d’écologie fonctionnelle et évolutive du CNRS, Montpellier, France
• Katie McShane, Department of Philosophy, Colorado State University, Colorado, USA
• Gregory Mikkelson, McGill School of Environment & Department of Philosophy, Montreal, Canada
• Michael Nelson, Duth H. Spaniol Chair in Renewable Resources and Professor of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, Oregon State University, USA
• Clare Palmer, Philosophy, Liberal Arts Texas A&M University, Texas, USA
• Jeff Sebo, Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
• Tatjana Visak, Philosophy, Mannheim University, Germany.

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