Department of Philosophy

DEPARTMENT OF

Philosophy

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Upcoming Speakers, Conferences & Workshops

Two upcoming talks will be of interest to APPLE members. On Thursday, March 30, 2017, Rosemary-Claire Collard from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University will be presenting a paper on “Disaster capitalism and the quick, quick, slow unraveling of animal life” to the SNID research group (Mac-Corry room D214, 1:00 - 2:30 pm). Collard will explore how sea otters in Alaska have been oriented in capitalist social relations through three regimes of loss: their near extinction during the fur trade and early expansionist, colonial capitalism; petro-capitalism and the negligent neoliberal state, culminating in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a death-dealing catastrophe for thousands of sea otters; and finally, spill cleanup, late capitalism, and advanced ecological crisis, when two dominant sea otter subjects are produced: the knowable animal and the enclosed animal. In each episode, she describes how sea otters are oriented in relation to capitalist production and the state, and what kind of violence and loss attends these orientations.

 On Thursday, March 23, 2017, Michael Runtz of Carleton University will present a paper based on his recent book Dam Builders: The Natural History of Beavers and Their Ponds, to the Queen's School of Environmental Studies Seminar series. The talk will take place from 2:30-4:00 pm in room 1103 in the BioScience Complex. 

 

Workshop on “Veganism and Beyond: Food, Animals, Ethics”: On Saturday June 10, 2017, APPLE is hosting a conference on animal ethics and food ethics. Animal ethicists have always had a lot to say about food, but to date it has largely focused on a single issue: namely, whether it is unethical to raise and kill animals for food, and if so, whether there is an ethical imperative to adopt a vegan diet. This is clearly of fundamental importance, since most humans’ primary contact with animals is through eating them, and animal agriculture is responsible for the death and suffering of tens of billions of sentient animals every year.  However, we believe that animal ethicists cannot and should not limit their engagement with food to “merely” the question of veganism. How a society feeds itself has profound implications for a wide range of social and political values, and veganism by itself does not ensure that a society’s foodways are consistent with justice for either humans or animals. Vegan food products can be produced in ways that are environmentally unsustainable, exploitative of humans, unsafe, or (indirectly) harmful to animals. The issue of veganism within animal ethics therefore needs to be situated within a larger framework of food ethics and food politics, beyond condemning the eating of animal “products” and animal agriculture. Fortunately, academic and popular interest in food has exploded, and there are now many monographs, collections and even journals devoted to “food ethics”, “food justice” and the “philosophy of food”. We believe that there is enormous promise in bringing animal ethics and food ethics together.

Confirmed speakers: Bob Fischer (Texas State University); Valéry Giroux (Université de Montréal); David Kaplan (University of North Texas); Andy Lamey (University of California, San Diego); Josh Milburn (Queen’s University); Victoria Millious and Samantha King (Queen’s University); Kelly Struthers Montford (University of Alberta/University of Toronto); Clare Palmer (Texas A&M University); Jeff Sebo (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Chloe Taylor (University of Alberta).

There is no conference fee and all are welcome, but space is limited, so if you would like to attend, or have any questions, please contact the workshop co-organizers: Josh Milburn (jmilburn02@qub.ac.uk) and/or Will Kymlicka (kymlicka@queensu.ca).

 

Past Speakers, Conferences & Workshops

 

PAST CONFERENCES

 

Workshop on “Political Animals: Agency, Participation, and Representation”. Together with Montreal’s Centre for Ethics, APPLE co-sponsored a workshop on March 5, 2016 on the democratic representation of animals, held at UQAM in Montreal. In recent years, a number of political theorists have argued that all sentient animals, human or otherwise, can be the rightful recipients of justice. Since we live in a world in which animals are, by and large, viewed as resources to be exploited for human ends, they further argue it is imperative that we institutionalize their protection and develop mechanisms for effectively giving voice to their genuine interests. Theorists seeking to include animals within the scope of justice have also typically assumed that democratic institutions are the best way to deliver justice for animals. Consequently, their accounts have either posited political rights for animals or gestured at the need to develop institutional mechanisms for their political representation in order to ensure that appropriate weight is accorded to their interests in human political decision-making. However, given that animals are unable to engage in most formal and informal modes of political participation including voting, holding office, jury service, petitioning, canvassing, and joining a social movement, their capacity for political participation is, on the surface, limited. This limitation, coupled with the epistemic challenge associated with knowing the interests of other animals, gives rise to several theoretical and practical challenges to their inclusion within the democratic sphere. In particular, whether animals themselves have the requisite capacities to ground rights to political participation, precisely what this would entail, and whether alternative modes of proxy representation can be both democratic and effective in their aims. In light of these considerations, this workshop explored issues pertaining to the democratic representation of animals, including:

  • What are the grounds for the democratic inclusion of animals?
  • Can animals be the bearers of political rights?
  • Do animals have political agency?
  • In what ways might we enable the political voice of other animals?
  • How do we get at the authentic interests of other animals?
  • What institutional mechanisms might be deployed to represent the interests of animals? Are such mechanisms compatible with democratic values?
  • Do our duties to other animals generate an irresolvable tension between the values of justice and democracy?

Our four main presenters were Dan Hooley (PhD student, Philosophy, University of Toronto; Eva Meier (PhD student, University of Amsterdam); Angela Martin (postdoctoral fellow, Center for Ethics, McGill), and Angie Pepper (Postdoctoral Fellow in Animal Ethics here at Queen’s). Commentators included Jeff Sebo (Parr Center for Ethics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Claudio Lopez-Guerra (Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City); Daniel Viehoff (Philosophy; Sheffield); and Sue Donaldson of APPLE. For more information about the workshop, please contact either Will Kymlicka (kymlicka@queensu.ca) or Angie Pepper (angie.pepper@queensu.ca).

 

Map of the Empire: APPLE co-sponsored the exhibition “Brad Isaacs: The Map of the Empire” at Queen’s University, from March 29 to May 6 2016. Isaacs, a Toronto-based Mohawk artist, explores how natural history museums in Canada collect and archive animals, and what this tells us about both indigenous-settler relations and human-animal relationships. For more information, see http://themapoftheempire.weebly.com/

 

Workshop on “The Place of Animals in Science: Hidden Costs/Hidden Potential”. This workshop on ethical approaches to science education and inquiry was co-sponsored by APPLE and Queen’s Faculty of Education. It took place on April 22, 2015. The format was a panel discussion featuring experts in humane science and alternatives to dissection and animal use, including an (optional) opportunity for hands-on investigation of alternative pedagogies. Panelists included: Jan Oakley, Faculty of Education and Women’s Studies, Lakehead University; Teresa Lloro-Bidart, Science Education Department, California State University at Chico; and Olivier Berreville, International Network for Humane Education (InterNiche). The workshop was aimed in particular at science educators (primary, secondary and post-secondary) and researchers. For a recent commentary on this issue in a leading educational research journal, see “Flint’s Story: Education and Justice for Animals" at: http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=17833. An information sheet containing links and resources relating to the theme of the workshop is available here.

 

Thinking outside the Cage: Towards a Nonspeciesist Paradigm for Scientific Research was an APPLE-sponsored conference held at Queen’s in March 2014. Scientific research is currently governed on the premise that humans have a right to use sentient animals as subjects of harmful research for our benefit. What would a non-speciesist alternative look like?  We invited leading scientists, public policy experts, humane educators, legal scholars and political theorists to help us identify the opportunities and challenges involved in pursuing a new ethical, legal and political framework regarding animals in research. Can the same legal and regulatory safeguards regarding the use of human subjects in research also be extended to animal subjects? Can questions regarding the treatment of animals within academic institutions be reframed as matters of public responsibility, and made subject to democratic deliberation by the larger community? This conference encouraged critical reflection on the limits of existing regulations, and inspired creative thinking about alternative frameworks and effective avenues to change. Funding was generously provided by the Abby Benjamin Fellowship program, and the Queen's Forum for Philosophy and Public Policy. A detailed report of the conference is posted at the conference website:  www.outsidethecage.net and is also available here as a PDF.

 

PAST SPEAKERS

Sue Donaldson (research associate, Philosophy Department, Queen’s) presented her paper on on “Animals Citizens and the Democratic Challenge” to the political philosophy reading group on March 1, 2017.

Josh Milburn (Postdoctoral Fellow in Animal Ethics, Queen's), presented a talk on “Confronting carnivory: The ethics and politics of animals eating animals” at the Philosophy colloquium on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. Josh also presented his paper on “Death-free dairy: Genuinely Humane Farming Versus Clean Milk” to the political philosophy reading group on 1 February 2017. 

Alice M. Crary (Philosophy, New School for Social Research) presented the 2016 Graham Kennedy Memorial Lecture on "Seeing Animal Suffering” on Thursday September 22nd, 2016. 

Kendra Coulter (Labour Studies, Brock University) presented a talk on “Animals, Work and the Promise of Interspecies Solidarity” on September 30th 2016, as part of the Department of Geography and School of Environmental Studies lecture series, co-sponsored by APPLE and the Lives of Animals research group.

“Animal Rights, Human Rights and the Future of the Planet”. On Wednesday, September 16, 2015, the APPLE research group, in association with the School of Environmental Studies, hosted a special discussion with Stephanie Feldstein (Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological Diversity) and Carter Dillard (Director of Litigation, Animal Legal Defense Fund). There are more than 7 billion people in the world today and approximately 56 billion land animals raised and slaughtered for food each year. Both of these numbers are quickly rising. Population growth and meat consumption are two of the leading causes of the current environmental crisis, and the mass extinction crisis, decimating what remains of our once biodiverse planet. Yet debates about sustainability and environmental ethics rarely mention either. Stephanie and Carter discussed the latest research on population growth, animal rights, and environmental ethics, and new ideas about how we can learn to share our finite planet. 

“Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights”: On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, Professors Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf from the Cornell Law School discussed the ways that pro-life arguments are invoked by both opponents of abortion and proponents of animal rights, and the political and philosophical challenges involved in linking or separating the two cases. Their presentation drew upon their forthcoming book Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights (Columbia University Press. 2016).  Colb and Dorf are well-known commentators on a variety of constitutional law issues, including animal law cases. Some of Sherry’s more popular animal-related writings are collected in her Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger? And Other Questions People Ask Vegans (Lantern 2013). This event is part of the new Colloquium in Legal and Political Philosophy, an initiative of the Faculty of Law, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Political Studies

Angela Martin presented her paper on "Affirmative Action for Animals" at the Philosophy Department colloquium on November 26, 2015. She discussed whether animals have a claim to affirmative action as a remedy for the forms of discrimination they have historically and currently suffer. Angela is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Research in Ethics at the University of Montreal. She received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Geneva, and has written extensively on the idea of vulnerability in bioethics, and its implications for animals. Angela also presented her paper "Animals as Vulnerable Research Subjects" at a more informal meeting of interested students and faculty on Friday Nov. 27th.

Will Kymlicka delivered the Queen’s Department of Philosophy Colloquium on March 19, 2015. The title for his talk was “Rethinking membership and participation in an inclusive democracy: cognitive disability, children, and animals” (co-authored with Sue Donaldson). Kymlicka is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Queen’s. See “Affiliated Researchers” for a full description of his (animal-related) research.

Hayden Lorimer, Chair of Cultural Geography at the University of Glasgow (http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/ges/staff/haydenlorimer/) gave a talk on Friday March 20, 2015 entitled "Gates of Heaven: Last Landscapes for the Companion Animal". Lorimer’s visit to Queen’s was supported by the Principal’s Development Fund and the departments of Geography, Music, Cultural Studies, Sociology and Environmental Studies.

Lynda Birke , Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester, UK delivered a public lecture on March 23, 2015 , entitled "The Place of Animals In Science: Hidden in Plain Sight" . Birke is a pioneer in both feminist science studies, and human-animal studies. She is associate editor of the journals Society and Animals , andHumanimalia: A Journal of Human/Animal Interface Studies . She has written extensively on non-human animal experimentation, and her recent work focuses on human-equine relationships. Birke’s many books include: Feminism, Animals and Science: The Naming of the Shrew (1994); Reinventing Biology: Respect for Life and the Creation of Knowledge (with Ruth Hubbard, 1995); and The Sacrifice: How Scientific Experiments Transform Animals and People (with Arnold Arluke and Mike Michael, 2007). APPLE was pleased to be able to co-sponsor this special lecture with Gender Studies. Lynda Birke’s overlapping expertise in feminism, animals and science makes her an ideal speaker to address one of APPLE’s ongoing themes – the costs of a scientific model that positions animals as objects to be manipulated, analyzed and experimented upon; and the potential of alternative approaches that engage in scientific inquiry withanimals rather than doing science on them. 

Katherine Wayne delivered the Queen’s Department of Philosophy Colloquium on January 22, 2015. The title for her talk is “Doing right by our animal companions: does preventing reproduction make for bad care?". Wayne has recently completed a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at Queen’s, and is currently a lecturer in Philosophy at Carleton University. See “Affiliated Researchers” for a full description of her research projects.

Dr. Alice J. Hovorka, Professor in the Department of Geography & School of Environmental Studies here at Queen's, gave the Geography Department seminar on Tuesday January 27, 2015. The title of her talk was "Animal Bodies and Performativity: Exploring Donkey Lives in Botswana". For more information on her work on animal lives in Botswana, see http://www.uoguelph.ca/geography/lives-animals-botswana

Tracy Isaacs delivered the Graham Kennedy Memorial Lecture on Thursday, September 11, 2014. The title for her talk was “Kitchen Nightmares: When Ethical Eaters Come to Dinner”. Isaacs is a Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Women’s Studies and Feminist Research (WSFR) at Western University in London, Ontario. Her research focuses on issues of responsibility in collective action contexts, collective obligation, ethics and feminist ethics. She also works on feminist issues in sport and fitness, food, dieting and body image.

Tyler (T.J.) Kasperbauer delivered an APPLE-sponsored talk entitled “Should We Bring Back the Passenger Pigeon?  The Ethics of De-extinction” on March 31, 2014. T J Kasperbauer was recently awarded his doctorate in Philosophy from Texas A & M University.

Jeff McMahan delivered the Chancellor Dunning Trust Lecture on October 31, 2013. The title for his talk was "Killing Animals and Causing them to Suffer". McMahan is Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University. He began his doctoral work at Oxford University under the supervision of Jonathan Glover and Derek Parfit, then completed the PhD at Cambridge University under the supervision of Bernard Williams. He is the author of   The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life   (Oxford University Press, 2002) and   Killing in War   (Oxford University Press, 2009). He has several other books forthcoming from Oxford University Press, including a collection of essays called   The Values of Lives  , a book on war intended for both academic and nonacademic readers called   The Right Way to Fight,   and a sequel to his 2002 book called   The Ethics of Killing: Self-Defense, War, and Punishment.

Zipporah Weisberg delivered the Queen’s Department of Philosophy Colloquium on November 21, 2013. The title for her talk was “Phenomenology, Ethology and Animal Ethics”. Weisberg was the Abby Benjamin Postdoctoral Fellow in Animal Ethics at Queen's University from 2013-2015. See "Affiliated Researchers" for a full description of her research project.

Maneesha Deckha gave a talk as part of the Queen’s Faculty of Law Visiting Speakers and Lecturers Program on November 22, 2013. The title of her talk was “Beyond Personhood: Toward an Embodied Legal Subjectivity for Animals”. Deckha is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include critical animal law, postcolonial feminist theory, health law and bioethics. Her work has appeared in Hypatia, Ethics & the Environment, the Harvard Journal of Gender and Law, the Journal for Critical Animal Studies, the McGill Law Journal, and Sexualities among other publications. She has received grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In 2008 she held the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Law and Society at New York University.

Gary Steiner delivered the Queen’s Department of Philosophy Colloquium on September 26, 2013. The title for his talk was “The Pathocentric Basis of Animal Rights”. Steiner is John Howard Harris Professor of Philosophy at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, where he has taught since 1987. He is the author of Descartes as a Moral Thinker: Christianity, Technology, Nihilism (2004); Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy (2005); Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, and Kinship (2008); and Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism (2013).