Thursday, March 2, 2017

Gruen: Entangled Empathy


  • Midterm advice is at tab above.  Midterm is on 3/9.  I will answer questions about the midterm next time (if you have any).  I will also have extra office hours on Wednesday 3/8, 2-5.
  • Speciesism: The Movie is showing on Monday 3/6 at 6 pm in the Hughes Trigg Forum.  You can receive 5 points for going and turning in a page of notes on 3/7.  The students who came and talked about it said there would be food.
  • Next time (3/7):  Professor Amy Freund will come and talk about the moral status of animals as depicted in art.  Art is another "way of knowing."  This will be interesting!

A little more on Carruthers

  • Imagine you are sitting around the table, hammering out the rules for a future society.  You're purely self-interested, seeking peace and security, and reluctant to give up too much freedom.  You're behind "the veil of ignorance," so don't know who you'll be in the future society--male or female, black or white, gay or straight, animal-lover or animal-farmer, etc.  
  • Carruthers says you will grant rights to all humans, both rational agents (like the people around the table) and others (babies, "senile" old people).  
  • He says you will grant no rights to any animals.
  • What do you think?  Will you accord any degree of moral standing to any animals? If you say NO you agree with Carruthers.  If you say YES, then (a) what degree of moral standing, and (b) which animals will have it? 

The Big Picture
  1. Peter Singer, 1975, Animalist, Utilitarian
  2. Tom Regan, 1984,  Animalist, Rights View (family quarrel with Singer)
  3. Peter Carruthers, 2011, Anti-Animalist (against Regan)
  4. Lori Gruen, 2015, Animalist (family quarrel with Singer and Regan)
  5. Donaldson & Kymlicka, 2016, Animalist (adding to Regan)
Lori Gruen -- Gruen, annotated
  1. Standard approaches to ethics: (Singer, Regan, McMahan, etc.)
  2. What's wrong with these approaches: (a) too abstract, (b) realities ignored, (c) alienating, robotic, (d) no focus on context and institutions, (e) hero-victim duality
  3. Standard approaches to animal ethics: the faults above, plus (f) too much focus on human-animal similarities, not enough on human-animal differences
  4. The right approach:  entangled empathy and care ethics
  5. What is entangled empathy? (from chap. 2); also, video
  • empathy vs. sympathy: empathy makes you "feel with" whereas sympathy makes you feel separate and above
  • empathy vs. contagion: empathy is cognitive and controlled, contagion is automatic
  • empathy vs. projection: empathy involves understanding what the other feels, projection involves imagining how you would feel in the same situation 
  • entangled empathy:  you are involved, you can be affected and changed 

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