CFA – Animal Liberation – 40 years on

The international conference “Animal Liberation, Forty Years on” will take place on May 28-29, 2015 at at the University of Rennes 2, France.

Speakers can give their presentation in French or in English, and the sessions will be free and open to all.

In his book entitled Animal Liberation, utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer elaborates on three main ideas: equality must refer to an equal consideration of interests, whether they are human interests, or the interests of any sentient being; the rejection of speciesism (discrimination based on species’ membership); and the practical consequence of these two ideas, namely the necessity to end certain types of animal exploitation, most notably those related to scientific research and factory farming. This seminal work had a huge impact. So much so that the publication of Animal Liberation in 1975, has been touted as the pivotal moment in the emergence of the eponymous movement. However, the animal liberation movement cannot be reduced to Singer’s thought. On the one hand, it became extremely multifaceted and is now the subject of intense debates – between animal advocates who favour different approaches that lead to incompatible conclusions, as well as between those who seek to improve the lives of animals and those who oppose the animal rights arguments. On the other hand, this movement is substantially shaped by the cultures in which it develops.

The purpose of this conference is to return to the link between the animal liberation movement and the theories of Peter Singer who, rightly or wrongly, is seen as its founding father. How was Singer’s animal ethics greeted after the publication of Animal Liberation? What feedback did it get from the animal rights movement? What are the conceptual and practical developments of contemporary animal liberation? What place does the utilitarian doctrine and its consequentialist basis occupy in the work of Singer and in the discussion it generated? What are the approaches in animal ethics to which Singer’s publication led?

In anticipation of this meeting, we encourage interdisciplinary confrontation of points of view (Anglophone studies, philosophy, sociology, law, history etc.). We also invite the emergence of a dialogue between different theoretical approaches, such as animal liberation, animal rights, welfarism, critical studies, political views on the status of animals, continental approaches, etc.

Guest speakers

  • Peter Singer, Ira W. Decamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University,
  • Jean-Yves Goffi, emeritus professor, Université de Grenoble II, France.

Proposals for papers should be of approximately 250 words, accompanied by a short biography (status, employer and contact infos). To submit a proposal for papers, it is necessary to:

Proposals may address the following topics (non-exhaustive):

  • Antispeciesism
  • The principle of equal consideration of interests
  • Analogies between speciesism and other forms of discrimination
  • The argument from marginal cases
  • The moral and legal status of “person”
  • The discussion surrounding the act of killing vs. the infliction of pain
  • Food choices: veganism, vegetarianism, flexitarianism, omnivorous diet (conscious or not)
  • The question of the replacement of those we kill
  • Ties between animal ethics with other areas of applied ethics: environmental ethics, bioethics, medical ethics, etc.
  • Utilitarianism vs. deontology, virtue ethics
  • Animal justice from the perspective of liberalism, neo- conservatism, Marxism, anarchism, etc.

Deadline for submission: October 30th, 2014 

Notification to authors before January 15th, 2015

A selection of the texts presented will be published after the conference.

Contacts: Emilie Dardenne, Valéry Giroux, Enrique Utria. If you wish to contact us, please use the email address of the colloquium:

The conference is hosted by the research team (Université Rennes 2), CORPUS group (Université de Rouen) and the Centre de Recherche en Éthique (Université de Montréal).