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Against Speciesism

ERI 149
Wednesday 22 November 2017 (13:00-14:00)

Philosophy Work in Progress Seminar Series 2017/18

The Philosophy department's work in progress seminar is an opportunity for the members of staff at Birmingham to present the material they are working on to each other and to the department's postgraduate students.
The seminar meets roughly on fortnightly Wednesdays from 13:00 to 14.00 in the ERI. All welcome!


In animal ethics as elsewhere, moral philosophers use the method of reflective equilibrium. On the one hand, we have the intuition that merely biological differences lack moral relevance. Yet, on the other hand, we have the intuition that the boundary between humans and non-humans is ethically significant. And, given that these intuitions are mutually inconsistent, we have to make a choice. In this talk, I will develop a debunking argument against the latter, speciesist intuition. I will argue that this intuition has its causal origin in an off-track process, namely the cognitive dissonance generated by the so-called "meat paradox". The case against speciesism is already powerful as it is. But it will be even stronger once we realize that speciesist intuitions are unreliable and start treating them accordingly.

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