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Political Animals: Agency, Participation, and Representation

Quand :
5 mars 2016 @ 14:00 – 22:00
Où :
Room W-5215, Pavillon Thérèse-Casgrain
455 Boulevard René-Lévesque E
Montréal, QC H2L 4Y2

Des chercheurEs de Queen’s University et du CRÉ tiendront une journée d’étude sur les animaux non humains et la politique.

Participation sur réservation seulement: contactez Valéry Giroux, à l’adresse valery.giroux@umontreal.ca.

Will Kymlicka et Angie Pepper.

In recent years, a number of political theorists have argued that all sentient animals, human or otherwise, can be the rightful recipients of justice. The strategies adopted to defend this claim are varied but essentially each account is concerned to redress the systematic unjust exploitation, abuse, and slaughter of animals that is endemic to our existing political, legal, economic, and social structures. While the precise details of policy and institutional design are often underdeveloped, all are agreed that since we live in a world in which animals are, by and large, viewed as resources to be exploited for human ends, it is imperative that we institutionalize their protection and develop mechanisms for effectively giving voice to their genuine interests. Moreover, theorists seeking to include animals within the scope of justice tend to assume that democratic institutions are the best way to deliver justice for animals. Consequently, their accounts have either posited political rights for animals or gestured at the need to develop institutional mechanisms for their political representation in order to ensure that appropriate weight is accorded to their interests in human political decision-making.

However, given that animals are unable to engage in most formal and informal modes of political participation including voting, holding office, jury service, petitioning, canvassing, and joining a social movement, their capacity for political participation is, on the surface, somewhat limited. This limitation, coupled with the epistemic challenge associated with knowing the interests of other animals, gives rise to several theoretical and practical challenges to their inclusion within the democratic sphere. In particular, whether animals themselves have the requisite capacities to ground rights to political participation, precisely what this would entail, and whether alternative modes of proxy representation can be both democratic and effective in their aims.

In light of these considerations, the aim of this workshop is to explore issues pertaining to the democratic representation of animals. The questions to be discussed include, though are not limited to, the following:

  • What are the grounds for the democratic inclusion of animals?
  • Can animals be the bearers of political rights?
  • Should animals have the right to vote?
  • Do animals have political agency?
  • In what ways might we enable the political voice of other animals?
  • How do we get at the authentic interests of other animals?
  • What institutional mechanisms might be deployed to represent the interests of animals? Are such mechanisms compatible with democratic values?
  • Do our duties to other animals generate an irresolvable tension between the values of justice and democracy?

Program (.pdf):

9:00 – 10:30   Angela Martin (Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University), “Considering and Weighing the Interests of Nonhuman Animals in Democratic Institutions”
Commentator: Jeff Sebo (Philosophy, University of North Carolina).

10:30-10:50    break

10:50-12:20    Eva Meijer (Philosophy PhD student, University of Amsterdam), “Interspecies encounters and the political turn: from dialogues to deliberation”
Commentator: Sue Donaldson (APPLE, Queen’s University)

12:20-1:30      lunch

1:30-3:00        Dan Hooley (Philosophy PhD student, University of Toronto), “Animals, Political Agency, and Political Inclusion”
Commentator: Daniel Viehoff (Philosophy, Sheffield)

3:00-3:20        break

3:20-4:50        Angie Pepper (Postdoctoral Fellow, Queen’s University), “Political Agency in Human and Other Animals”
Commentator: Claudio Lopez-Guerra (Political Science, CIDE, Mexico)

6:30 pm:         Dinner – Kutuma restaurant

Co-sponsored by Animals in Politics, Philosophy, Law and Ethics (APPLE) Research Group, Queen’s University, and Centre de Recherche en Éthique, Montreal.