Keynote speaker Kristin Andrews (York University) will give a lecture about 'Normative Practice in Other Animals'.
Many discussions about morality in other species focus on sentimentalist or deontological moral theories, and whether animals have what is needed to count as moral participants according to these theories. For example, Mark Rowlands thinks animals engage in moral behavior because they are capable of empathy and Philip Kitcher thinks animals don’t have a capacity for morality because they cannot consider principles for action. If our concern is to investigate the evolution of morality, this way of understanding the issue leads to a stalemate, since there is little agreement on what counts as “moral” in the first place. I will argue that it is more productive to examine the evolution of morality in terms of the existence of normative practice--a necessary component of morality on any moral theory. I will argue that normative practice is a cultural technology found in many animal species. Normative practice involves sensitivity to the way we do things around here, the appropriateness of different kinds of actions, and a drive toward conformity to in-group behavior.
Kristin Andrews is York Research Chair in Animal Minds, Associate Professor of Philosophy at York University. She works on issues in the normativity of folk psychology and social understanding, the evolution of morality, and methodology in animal cognition research. Andrews’s books include Do Apes Read Minds? Toward a New Folk Psychology (MIT 2012) – a defense of her normative and pluralistic theory of folk psychology, The Animal Mind (Routledge 2015) – a survey of how empirical work on animal minds can help to inform debates in the philosophy of mind, and The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds (co-edited with Jacob Beck) – an anthology of current philosophical research. Andrews has published her theoretical work in journals including Mind and Language, Synthese, Philosophical Psychology, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Biology and Philosophy, Inquiry, Review of Philosophy and Psychology, Philosophical Explorations, and Southern Journal of Philosophy. Her scientific research on orangutan pantomime communication is published in Biology Letters and Communicative and Integrative Biology. In addition to her academic duties, she serves as a member of the Executive Board for The Borneo Orangutan Society Canada, which has the mission to promote conservation of orangutans and their habitat and to educate the public.