MT23 Week 4 Uehiro Seminar

Animals suffer as much as humans? On the alleged asymmetry between enjoyment and suffering

Abstract: Affective experiences are influenced by higher cognitive capacities. Some forms of enjoyment, such as engaging in love and friendship relations, having aesthetic experiences, and reaching long term achievements, require higher cognitive capacities and thus remain largely unattainable to (non-human) animals. A popular view, however, is that there is an asymmetry between enjoyment and suffering, such that even though (normal adult) humans can attain more intense enjoyment than animals, the same doesn’t apply to suffering. When it comes to suffering, the view goes, humans and animals are in the same league. This asymmetry view plays a key role in arguments concerning the moral status of animals, the value of human and animal lives, and our duties to impaired newborns. In this presentation I challenge the asymmetry view. I argue that the assumption that higher cognitive capacities enhance enjoyment makes it hard to deny that these capacities also enhance suffering.

SpeakerBernardo Aguilera (Assistant Professor, Universidad San Sebastian, Santiago; OUC Academic Visitor)

A hybrid event for Uehiro Centre Members and Associates (booking not required). 

In-person venue: Oxford Uehiro Centre, Suite 1 Seminar Area, Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbe’s Street, Oxford OX1 1PT (buzzer 1)
Zoom: Please request the joining link from from well in advance or see the Centre's Internal Google Calendar