Morality in Animals

Postdoc project by Judith Benz-Schwarzburg (starting 2014)

The project deals with topics like empathy, (altruistic) helping, fairness, cooperation/social interaction and inequity aversion in animals. The aim is to link new empirical findings to philosophical discussions, e.g. the debate about moral agents vs. moral subjects or the discussions on personhood and animal rights. From a scientific as well as a philosophical perspective, the project discusses to what extend we can speak about morality in animals in a meaningful way. Dealing with this question requires an understanding of studies from comparative cognition, but it also requires the philosophical skills to provide a valid interpretation of such studies with reference to moral theory. The project is linked to the MFI pig cognition project starting in 2014, which will study capacities surrounding morality in pigs. Dr. Benz-Schwarzburg will supervise the pig research from a philosophical and ethical perspective.