In this comprehensive introduction to animal ethics, Lori Gruen weaves together poignant and provocative case studies with discussions of ethical theory, urging readers to engage critically and empathetically reflect on our treatment of other animals. In clear and accessible language, Gruen provides a survey of the issues central to human-animal relations and a reasoned new perspective on current key debates in the field. She analyses and explains a range of theoretical positions and poses challenging questions that directly encourage readers to (...) hone their ethical reasoning skills and to develop a defensible position about their own practices. Her book will be an invaluable resource for students in a wide range of disciplines including ethics, environmental studies, veterinary science, women's studies, and the emerging field of animal studies and is an engaging account of the subject for general readers with no prior background in philosophy. (shrink)
Deeply rooted structures of racism, ableism, misogyny, ageism, and transphobia hurt great numbers of people, exposing them to intolerance, economic exclusion, and physical harm around the globe. Billions of land animals suffer and die annually in concentrated feeding operations and slaughterhouses. Our planet and all who live here are in perilous straights as the climate changes. In the face of such grievous problems, people who want to find positive ways to respond often grapple with difficult questions about how to make (...) a difference. Effective Altruism has arisen as an attempt to help answer these questions, encouraging people to give as much money as they can in the most effective ways to address human and animal suffering. But the Effective Altruists’ answers support some of the very social structures that cause suffering, undermining its efforts to “do the most good.” The Good It Promises, The Harm It Does is the first book-length critique of Effective Altruism. It brings together a diverse group of activists and scholars to explore Effective Altruism’s failure to meaningfully address forms of human and animal suffering. (shrink)
"In Entangled Empathy, scholar and activist Lori Gruen argues that rather than focusing on animal rights, we ought to work to make our relationships with animals right by empathetically responding to their needs, interests, desires, vulnerabilities, hopes, and unique perspectives. Pointing out that we are already entangled in complex and life-altering relationships with other animals, Gruen guides readers through a new way of thinking about and practicing animal ethics. Lori Gruen is Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator of Wesleyan Animal Studies (...) at Wesleyan University. She is the author of Ethics and Animals and co-editor, with Carol Adams, of Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Animals and the Earth."--Back cover. (shrink)
Establishing that nature has intrinsic value has been the primary goal of environmental philosophers. This goal has generated tremendous confusion. Part of the confusion stems from a conflation of two quite distinct concerns. The first concern is with establishing the moral considerability of the natural world which is captured by what I call "intrinsic value p ." The second concern attempts to address a perceived problem with the way nature has traditionally been valued, or as many environmentalists would suggest, undervalued, (...) what I call "intrinsic value v ." In this paper I argue against further development of both types of theories of the intrinsic value of nature. There are, I believe, intermediate valuations that have been almost entirely overlooked in discussions of value. Much of the confusion currently plaguing environmental ethics can be avoided by abandoning intrinsic value and refocusing environmental ethics. (shrink)
Though conditions of captivity vary widely for humans and for other animals, there are common ethical themes that imprisonment raises. This volume brings together scholars, scientists, and sanctuary workers to address these issues in fifteen new essays.
Val Plumwood urged us to attend to earth others in non-dualistic ways. In this essay I suggest that such attention be promoted through what I call "engaged empathy." Engaged empathy involves critical attention to the conditions that undermine the well being or flourishing of those to whom empathy is directed and this requires moral agents to attend to things they might not have otherwise. Engaged empathy requires gaining wisdom and perspective and, importantly, motivates the empathizer to act ethically.
Currently an unprecedented number of individuals live in captivity. There has been an increase in attention to the harms of human bondage and confinement, and the harms of captivity for non-human animals is beginning to come into sharper view. Those who do focus on other animals in captivity have tended to focused on pain, suffering, and killing with much less attention to the potentially devastating effects of denying liberty. Incaceration does cause physical and psychological harm, but it also is a (...) violation of autonomy. I argue that other animals have autonomy, they make choices within their species-typical behavioral repertoire and these choices are meaningful to them. Denying them the freedom to exercise their autonomy by keeping them incarcerated, under captive control, is thus ethically problematic. (shrink)
Lately there has been increased attention to the philosophical issues that death raises, but the focus remains individualistic. Death is philosophically puzzling. Death is thought to be bad for the individual who dies, but there is no one there to experience death as a harm. In this paper I argue that the harm of death is a social harm. Of course, social relationships are fundamentally changed when any member of a social group dies. Death is harmful for those left behind. (...) The problem is not just that social relations are harmed by the loss of a loved one. The very meaning and value of our lives and projects are shaped by social relations. By recognizing death as a social harm that many animals, human and nonhuman, experience, we may be better prepared for the work of mourning. (shrink)
In order to reach its full potential, human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research requires the use of human oocytes. There is currently a shortage of human eggs for research, and this shortage is likely to continue, as many states and countries prohibit their sale for research purposes, while at the same time condoning unregulated markets for oocytes for use in assisted reproduction. In this essay I first explore possible alternative sources of oocytes for hESC research and conclude that, at present, (...) women are the best source. I then examine arguments about exploitation and commodification that are often raised to prohibit payment to women for oocytes in both the reproductive and research contexts and find these arguments wanting. I conclude by suggesting that ethical concerns raised about a market in oocytes do not warrant a prohibition on the sale of eggs, but that a regulated market can consistently minimize ethical concerns while respecting women and providing important resources for advances in hESC research. (shrink)
In the late 1960s Van Rensselaer Potter, a biochemist and cancer researcher, thought that our survival was threatened by the domination of military policy makers and producers of material goods ignorant of biology. He called for a new field of Bioethics—“a science of survival.” Bioethics did develop, but with a narrower focus on medical ethics. Recently there have been attempts to broaden that focus to bring biomedical ethics together with environmental ethics. Though the two have many differences—in habits of thought, (...) scope of concern, and value commitments—in this paper we argue that they often share common cause and we identify common ground through an examination of two case studies, one addressing drug development, the other food production. (shrink)
Strangers to Nature brings together many of the leading scholars who are working to redefine and expand the discourse on animal ethics. This volume will engage both scholars and lay-people by revealing the breadth of theorizing about the human/non-human animal relationship that is currently taking place.
The first anthology to highlight the problems of environmental justice and sustainable development, Reflecting on Nature provides a multicultural perspective on questions of environmental concern, featuring contributions from feminist and minority scholars and scholars from developing countries. Selections examine immediate global needs, addressing some of the most crucial problems we now face: biodiversity loss, the meaning and significance of wilderness, population and overconsumption, and the human use of other animals. Spanning centuries of philosophical, naturalist, and environmental reflection, readings include the (...) work of Aristotle, Locke, Darwin, and Thoreau, as well as that of contemporary, mainstream figures like Bernard Williams, Thomas Hill, Jr., and Jonathan Glover. Works by Val Plumwood, Bill Devall, Murray Bookchin, and John Dryzek comprise a radical ecology section. Featuring insightful section introductions by the editors, this comprehensive and timely collection of philosophical and environmental writing will inform, enlighten, and encourage debate. (shrink)
This special issue marks the culmination of Hypatia's twenty-fifth anniversary year. We kicked off the celebration of Hypatia's quarter century as an autonomous journal with a conference, "Feminist Legacies/Feminist Futures," which drew close to 150 attendees—a capacity crowd, and more than twice what we'd expected in the planning stages! The conference provided an opportunity to reflect on how Hypatia came to be and how it has shaped feminist philosophy.
In June 2010, Rosie, a descendant of the chimpanzees sent into space, and thirteen others were shipped from New Mexico to a laboratory in Texas for possible use in hepatitis research. They were to be the first group of approximately two hundred chimpanzees to be reintroduced to invasive research. These chimpanzees had been in semiretirement for a decade after being removed from an enormous laboratory that was in egregious violation of the Animal Welfare Act. I, along with many bioethicists, scientists, (...) primatologists, and others, have long been arguing against the use of chimpanzees in invasive research on ethical grounds. The United States is now poised to join the rest of the world in ending invasive research on our closest primate relatives. (shrink)
Sex, Morality, and the Law combines legal and philosophical arguments to focus on six controversial topics; homosexual sex, prostitution, pornography, abortion, sexual harassment, and rape. Suitable for use in several disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels, this anthology includes critical court decisions and essays representing a diversity of conservative, liberal, and feminist positions.
In this paper, we explore how caretakers experience living with disabled companion animals. Drawing on interviews, as well as narratives on websites and other support groups, we examine ways in which caretakers describe the lives of animals they live with, and their various disabilties. The animals were mostly dogs, plus a few cats, with a range of physical disabilities; almost all had been rehomed, often from places specializing in homing disabled animals. Three themes emerged from analysis of these texts: first, (...) respondents drew heavily on the common narrative of disabled individuals as heroes, often noted in disability rights literature – while simultaneously drawing on, and challenging, ideas of disability as incapacity. The second theme was love and empathy. Several of our interviewees spoke of empathy being enhanced thro We discuss these caretakers' stories of animal disability in relation to both studies of human-animal relationships, and to disability rights, as well as to ideas about what constitutes care. What these narratives emphasize is a particular sense of sharing and reciprocity, felt through the body, especially when caretakers spoke of their own ill-health. They saw disability – the animals' or their own – not as limiting, but as enabling both to flourish within caring relationships. (shrink)
We think Hall (2013) is correct in arguing that the environmental movement needs a stronger narrative and believe that such a narrative requires significant nuance. Hall rightly recognizes the importance of appropriately framing the current narratives appealed to by the environmental movement. They are too simplistic and, as such, misleading. The optimistic frames tend to ignore the real losses people experience in trying to live greener lifestyles. The ‘doom and gloom’ frames are apt to foster a sense of hopelessness rather (...) than motivate change. However a stronger narrative, as we think Hall would agree, requires that the more qualitative, multifaceted, and mutable nature of value be considered. (shrink)
Class, race, and tough-on-crime political platforms are three of the most discussed, and thus most visible, forces that contribute to mass incarceration. The analysis of each of these forces has been illuminating, yet these broad narratives tend to obscure the burden of prison for those locked up within them. The social narratives that have developed to help understand the prison industrial system often inadvertently obscure the complex experiences and losses endured by prisoners. The psychic and physical toll that accrues from (...) decades of social exile, the affronts to dignity that “corrections” regularly impose, and the injuries to one’s sense of themselves and their relationships that prison foments haven’t received the attention they deserve. This essay explores the question of the permissibility of causing harm through imprisonment and social abandonment, arguing that any adequate answer must make the particular experiences and actual concerns of incarcerated people socially visible. (shrink)
Reflecting on Nature introduces readers to the fields of environmental philosophy and environmental ethics, offering both classic and current readings that focus on key themes - images of nature, ethics, justice, animals, food, climate, biodiversity, aesthetics and wilderness. It helps students to focus on fundamental issues within environmental philosophy and offers succinct readings that explore the central tensions and problems within environmental philosophy.
As knowledge about the devastating consequences of human action on the environment grows, so does the urgency of finding answers to questions about how we ought to think about and act toward the natural world. Over the last twenty-five years, philosophers have attempted to develop an environmental ethic that can answer these questions. The most common articulations of environmental ethics set out to establish the value of nature beyond its mere usefulness to humans, a value referred to in the literature (...) as intrinsic value. I critically examine two of the leading versions of environmental ethics which attempt to establish the intrinsic value of nature and find them wanting. I then turn to an alternative, ecofeminist approach to thinking about our obligations to the non-human world that is not preoccupied with establishing the intrinsic value of nature. I highlight some of the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach. In the end, I point in a new direction for answering questions about our relationship to the environment and for solving some of the most pressing global environmental problems; one that I call an ecofeminist contextualist approach to valuing nature. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reflecting Back, Looking Forward:Ethics and the Environment at 25Lori Gruen (bio)Twenty-five years ago, when Ethics and the Environment launched, I remember having engaging conversations with the late founding editor, Victoria Davion, about just how important feminist thinking was to ethical explorations of our vexed relationships with the more than human world. She promised to promote feminist philosophical scholarship in this journal and she kept that promise. Although I'm quite (...) skeptical of "metrics" I did a search on the term "feminism" in the three prominent journals that publish on ethics and the environment and was not surprised to find that this journal contains 147 results where there are 51 in Environmental Values and just 33 in Environmental Ethics, a journal that has been publishing longer than Ethics and the Environment.Before the journal launched, Vicky, Chris Cuomo, and I spoke regularly about the value that feminist philosophical insights brought to environmental ethics. While we disagreed on a variety of issues (should the climate be central? Should we center our relationships with other animals?) and names (should we think of ourselves as "ecofeminists" or "ecological feminists"?) and had lively debates with other ecofeminists, including Carol Adams, Greta Gaard, Marti Kheel, Deborah Slicer, Val Plumwood, and Karen Warren, among others, we all shared a commitment to feminist methodology as well as recognizing the crucial need to incorporate ecofeminism into environmental ethics and praxis.Part of the reason it is important to incorporate ecofeminist insights into environmentalism is that ecofeminism builds on work in feminist philosophy that uncovers various biases that distort our knowledge and our relationships. For example, feminist epistemologies help us to see how testimony from those outside the center are undervalued or ignored. This has become painfully clear in environmental justice struggles; communities of [End Page 3] color are disproportionately impacted by exposure to toxins and are then burdened with finding "experts" who can "objectively" assess their claims. Ecofeminists have helped identify the inequity of looking to so-called objective expertise when communities are suffering. This sort of epistemic injustice is getting worse in the face of extreme weather events, in at least two ways. Many people who are impacted by hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, are often not well positioned to navigate institutions that may be able to help, if those institutions even exist. And as sea ice melts and oceans rise, indigenous people's multi-generational wisdom is often overlooked, while their communities are simultaneously imperiled.Another reason that feminist and ecofeminist analyses are crucial for environmental philosophy is that ecofeminists can correct certain problematic frameworks that often hinder our abilities to reshape our relationships with the more than human world. Ecofeminists have long been critical of the abstract individualism that has permeated environmental ethics, including animal ethics (Adams and Gruen, 2014). This focus on abstract individualism leads to faulty analyses of our place in the natural world, as many holistic environmental philosophers have argued. Ecofeminists have also provided important challenges to holism in environmental philosophy, as the categorical "wholes" tend to occlude important differences within and between them. (Kheel, 2007). Ecofeminists have sought to contextualize ecological sensibilities to illuminate how systems of power differentially structure our relationships with each other and our environments.Vicky's commitment to incorporating feminist and ecofeminist perspectives as a central part of this journal's vision has also provided newer scholars with a venue for further development of ecofeminist thinking, as can be seen in A.E. Kings' "Intersectionality and the Changing Face of Ecofeminism" (2017) and Chaone Mallory's "What's in a Name? In Defense of Ecofeminism (Not Ecological Feminisms, Feminist Ecology, or Gender and the Environment)" (2018) published in the special tribute issue to Vicky. New thinking is always important, but in the face of global climate collapse, it is more important than ever.This journal has also been one of the go-to venues for animal ethics. In the early days of environmental ethics, there was a complex debate about what role, if any, animal ethics should play in environmental ethics. Over 35 years ago, two of the early pioneers, J. Baird Callicott (1980) and the late Marti Kheel (1985), argued in the pages of... (shrink)
Vesilind, P.A. There Is No Such Thing As Environmental Ethics,Science and Engineering Ethics 2:307–318.Dr. Gruen is Co-editor ofReflecting on Nature: Readings in Environmental Philosophy and has published on the topics of animals, ethies, and the environment.
In this timely collection, some of the world's leading ethicists grapple with the variety of issues posed by human embryonic stem cell research. Investigates the moral status of the embryo including the creation of chimeras and paying for gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos for research purposes Provides a thorough evaluation of the ethics and politics of regulating hESC research, and the privacy, confidentiality, and informed consent in the conduct of research and clinical investigations Essential reading for scientists, philosophers, policy (...) makers, and all who are interested in the ethical conduct of science Contributors include David DeGrazia, Lori Gruen, Elizabeth Harman, John Harris, Jeff McMahan, Don Marquis and Peter Singer. (shrink)