Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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Personhood Beyond the Human

December 6-8, 2013
Yale University, New Haven, CT USA

Conference Website:

Organized by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Co-Sponsors: Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale Animal Ethics Group, Yale Technology and Ethics Working Group

Endorsed by the Nonhuman Rights Project

Opening Keynote address by philosopher Peter Singer

A growing body of research shows that many nonhuman animals, especially great apes, dolphins and whales, and elephants, have self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, symbolic communication, and the other characteristics of “personhood.”  If at least some animals are psychological persons isn’t it time to extend the legal protection of ‘human rights’ from our species to all beings with those characteristics? Pending advances in genetic engineering and computing will make the need for clear criteria for personhood, and what we owe persons, even more important in law and public policy.

The Personhood Beyond the Human conference will tackle these questions and take a hard look at our evolving notions of personhood by analyzing them through the frameworks of history, neuroscience,  philosophy, ethics, and law. Special consideration will be given to discussions of nonhuman animal personhood, both in terms of understanding the science and philosophy behind personhood, and ways to protect animal interests through the establishment of legal precedents and by increasing public awareness.

Speakers include:

Steve Wise, President of the Nonhuman Rights Project
Lori Marino, Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and Emory University
Patrick Hopkins, Philosophy Dept., Millsaps College
Kevin LaGrandeur, English Dept., NY Institute of Technology
Andrew Fenton, Philosophy Dept., Cal State University – Fresno
Wendell Wallach, Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
Robert Jones, Philosophy Dept., Cal State University – Chico
Yaniv Heled, College of Law, Georgia State University
Saskia Stucki, Law School, University of Basel
Pablo de Lora, School of Law, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Lori Gruen, Philosophy Dept., Wesleyan University
Michael Mountain, Nonhuman Rights Project
Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns
Wynn Schwartz, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Samir Chopra, Philosophy Dept., Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center
Daryl Wenneman, Philosophy Dept., Fontbonne University
Jim Bodington, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque
Jessica Rubin, School of Law, University of Connecticut
George Dvorsky, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
Martine Rothblatt, Terasem Movement Foundation
David Brin, science fiction author
Linda McDonald Glenn, Women’s Bioethics Project
Steve Fuller, Sociology Dept., University of Warwick
James Hughes, Public Policy Studies, Trinity College


There is a block of rooms for the Personhood Beyond the Human Conference at a special price at the Courtyard Marriott next to Yale University. If you make arrangements with them please let them know that you are with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies/Nonhuman Rights Project conference at Yale.

Courtyard New Haven at Yale
30 Whalley Avenue
(800) 321-2211
(203) 777-6221

We are very grateful to Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant for providing a vegetarian buffet for Saturday and Sunday’s lunches.

Name of registrant


Thanks goes out to the following restaurants for providing vegan food:
Book Trader Cafe
Claire’s Corner Copia
Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant


Registration is $200.

All Yale Students and Faculty with a valid ID can attend the conference for free.

Sign up for the conference email list
to stay informed about conference details!

Please click on the below image to download a printable flyer about the conference. Please spread the word on this historical event generously!

For More Information

James J. Hughes Ph.D.
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies


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The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @     phone: 860-297-2376

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @