Associate Professor of Philosophy
I came to Beloit College in 2004, the same year I received my Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder. My area of specialization is normative ethics, and my interests cut across both ethical theory (especially consequentialism) and practical ethics (especially biomedical ethics). I teach a wide variety of classes in Philosophy, but the course that is most relevant to my participation in this seminar is Environmental Ethics. This course is one that I have been recently revamping, and while I've always included a section on animal ethics in it, this section will become a major part of the course in its next iteration (and, hopefully, beyond). Other related courses that I regularly teach include Biomedical Ethics, which covers animal research, and Intro to Philosophy, which covers both animal consciousness and animal ethics.
I come to the seminar with some significant familiarity with the literature on the moral status of animals, as well as the literature on disability and euthanasia that connects with questions about animals, concerning both the nature of personhood and the permissibility of various end-of-life choices. I hope that this background can help me to contribute meaningfully to our discussions, and perhaps my background in ethical theory will be of use as well.
With respect to my teaching, I hope that this seminar will directly inform the newly-revamped course on Environmental Ethics that I will roll out in the fall of 2012. That course will significantly focus on animal ethics–I expect to spend at least 4-5 weeks on the subject in the course, perhaps more. This is a course that I regularly teach, and my hope is that this section will become a staple of the course. I cover animal research in my Biomedical Ethics course, and I regularly deal with animal consciousness and animal ethics in my Intro to Philosophy course, so I hope that this seminar will inform my teaching of those courses as well.
With respect to my research, I have recently been thinking about serious disability and euthanasia protocols. Questions concerning nonhuman animals, with respect to both the nature of personhood and the permissibility of various end-of-life choices, arise in that literature, and I hope that the seminar may inform my thinking with respect to those issues.