Do at least some animals have minds comparable to those of humans?

This question has exercised philosophy and science since their inception. It is also prominent in the wider public sphere, on account of its moral, legal, and political implications. The connection between the question of animal minds and ethics is two-fold.

Animal Morals: do animals have moral beliefs, attitudes, sentiments or practices?
Animal Ethics: How should we treat animals? What are our obligations towards them?
Professor Glock’s lecture shall explore both. Against current fashion, Glock maintains that the scope for animal morals is severely limited but that – contra contractualism – animals needn’t possess any morality in order for us to have duties towards them. Glock resists the tendency among some activists and philosophers to base claims about the nature and scope of animal minds on preconceived ethical views. This is to put the cart before horse: our moral obligations towards animals depend on their mental capacities. The lecture shall thus explore whether at least some animals possess mental capacities (e.g. ones relating to sensation, belief, intention, and reasoning) connected to various kinds of moral status.

Hans-Johann Glock is Professor of Philosophy and Head of Department at the University of Zurich (Switzerland), as well as Visiting Professor at the University of Reading (UK). He is the author of A Wittgenstein Dictionary (Blackwell 1996), Quine and Davidson (CUP 2003), La mente de los animals (KRK 2009) and What is Analytic Philosophy? (CUP 2008), as well as editing and co-editing numerous other publications. He has published numerous articles in leading international journals on Wittgenstein, the history of analytic philosophy, meta-philosophy, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of animal minds. He has been a Visiting Professor at Queen’s University, Canada, a Hugh-Le May Fellow at Rhodes University, South-Africa, a fellow of the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg, Germany and a recipient of a Humboldt Research Prize. He is currently working on a book about animal minds.

Refreshments will be available from 18:30 and the lecture will start at 19:00.

Further information on the Francis Bacon Lecture Series

The lecture will be preceded by a workshop at 13:00 in room W042 (Law Court Building), on animal minds and morals with talks by Maria Balaska, Mikel Burley, Luke Cash, Niklas Forsberg, and Sasha Lawson-Frost. Places at the workshop are free but limited so please register by email.