2nd CALL FOR PAPERS – Animal Metaethics

Call for papers – Animal metaethics: new directions in animal philosophy

The aim of the collection is to explore key areas of metaphilosophy that have been largely ignored in animal ethics and, more broadly, animal philosophy. As they stand, animal ethics and philosophy have tended to stay focused on a relatively limited variety of specific themes, whilst many vital metaphilosophical issues have remained unexamined. The hope is to broaden animal philosophy, to render it more inclusive of important contemporary philosophical themes, and to push it toward new directions. The potential authors are invited to select a topic from the list below, or to suggest a theme of their own:

– Evidence for mindedness and theories of mind: Some ethicists make far-reaching claims about animal mindedness on the basis of quite specific pieces of evidence. Others take a parsimonious view or appeal to prevailing orthodoxy. How should we adjudicate claims about the scope of mindedness in animal ethics? Does the preoccupation with sentience forestall development of new accounts of animal mindedness that are not based upon person-centred folk psychological concepts such as beliefs and desires? Could new phenomenal approaches, computational theories of mind, projectivism, representationalism, different varieties of externalism or altogether fresh takes on philosophy of mind play a useful role in animal ethics?

– Individuality: Should individuality remain the starting point of animal ethics, and what are the alternatives? Should animal ethics rather be perceived as something springing from “relationality”, much emphasised in recent animal studies? Is the individualism of animal ethics necessarily linked to moral and political liberalism, or can it be it tied to avowedly non-liberal philosophical approaches?

– Universalism vs. particularism: Animal ethics has remained largely universalistic, whilst much of contemporary normative theory and practical ethics has been heading toward principilism and particularism (or contextualism). Does an ethic that takes animals seriously need to be universalistic, and can universalism be rescued from its contextual critics?

– Epistemology: What does “knowledge” of human-animal relations entail? Is it propositional, inferential, and ideally logical in content, or can it be non-lingual, immediate, intuititive, and perhaps intrinsically illogical? How could an animal philosophy based on non-lingual or non-propositional animal encounters manifest itself?

– Truth and representation: Is it true that animals are owed rights? Do claims about the exploitation of animals express beliefs that are true or false in line with cognitivism; or are they merely the expression of non-cognitive mental states qua expressivism? Is there a place for anti-representationalism in animal ethics?

– Moral psychology: Neurosciences and social psychology are rapidly producing more viewpoints into moral psychology. Inclusion of this growing wealth of information appears important also for animal philosophy. How does empathy, intersubjectivity, habituation, denial, alienation, identity, akrasia, and other typical concepts of moral psychology relate to animal philosophy, and does the human-animal relation include other, specific factors that have gone thus-far un-noted?

– Persuasion: How important is the aspect of persuasion to animal philosophy? Should animal philosophy seek to move, “interrupt” or motivate people to alter their everyday actions that bear an impact on non-human animals? How practical and political should or could animal philosophy become? What form could persuasion take?

– Intuitions and moral theory: “Intuition” has become a predominant object of contemporary philosophical debate, yet its role has rarely been explicated in animal philosophy. Discussion revolving around Gettier’s stance on justified true beliefs, together with recent experimental philosophy, have suggested that much (if not all) of human “knowledge” is ultimately founded on intuition. What is the role of intuition in animal ethics, and does explicit reliance on intuition necessarily signal a weakness in theory? What foundation does intuition gain in the context of non-human animals, and can the human-animal relation spark unique forms of intuition, perhaps thus-far unrecognised?

Authors are invited to submit an abstract of circa 500 words in length, and to send it to either of the editors by 15th of March, 2013. The final deadline for the papers (approximately 6000-8000 words in length) will be 29th November, 2013.

Contact information:
John Hadley, Research Lecturer, University of Western Sydney
Elisa Aaltola, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Eastern Finland