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Personhood Beyond the Human: On What Might a Species-Free Ethics Look Like?

On December 7, 2013 Robert C. Jones spoke on “What Might a Species-Free Ethics Look Like?” at the Personhood Beyond the Human conference at Yale University.

Robert C. Jones received his PhD in philosophy from Stanford University in 2005 where his doctoral research examined the moral significance of nonhuman animal cognition. His professional research investigates the substantive cognitive properties that bear on the ethical treatment and moral considerability of both human and nonhuman animals. In addition, his research includes food ethics, environmental ethics, mind and cognition, species studies, and the question of what it is to be human.

Robert has been a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University and a visiting researcher for the Ethics in Society Project at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and most recently a Summer Fellow at the Animals & Society Institute. He has given talks at Stanford, Yale, Wesleyan, UCLA, and the University of Auckland. Robert joined the faculty of California State University, Chico, in 2008 as Assistant Professor of Philosophy.

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The Personhood Beyond the Human conference was organized by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics at Yale University, Yale’s Animal Ethics Group and Yale’s Technology and Ethics Group.
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Abstract: Research on the morally substantive cognitive properties of nonhuman animals is exploding, ranging from studies on sentience in insects to theory of mind in nonhuman primates. In this presentation, I briefly summarize my most recent paper in which I survey the most prominent empirical research on the physiological and cognitive capacities of nonhuman animals. I then make explicit the connection between these data and the legal and moral conceptions of important notions such as moral agency, moral patienthood, personhood, and post-personhood. I then offer a sketch of what a just, non-chauvinistic, non-speciesist, scientifically informed, species-free ethics might look like in light of pending advances in the fields of biomedical and genetic engineering as well as recent movements in biology towards species anti-realism.


Image: http://caudallure.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/tool-artwork-artist-alex-grey/




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