Christine Korsgaard

Christine M. Korsgaard

Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University

March 9, 2016 — 4:10 PM
Alumni House, Toll Room — UC Berkeley Campus

Add to Google Calendar 03/09/2016 4:10 PM 03/09/2016 6:00 PM America/Los_Angeles Animal Selves and the Good

About the Lecture A common defense of the various and sometimes cruel ways in which human beings use the other animals is that human beings are just more important than the other animals are: what happens to human beings matters … Continued

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About the Lecture

A common defense of the various and sometimes cruel ways in which human beings use the other animals is that human beings are just more important than the other animals are: what happens to human beings matters more.  In this lecture, Korsgaard begins by arguing that the trouble with this claim is not so much that it is false, as that it makes almost no sense at all.  The difficulty rests in the fact that everything that is important must be important to someone.  A defense of this claim requires nothing less than a theory of why there is such a thing as “the good” at all. She will sketch such a theory and then raise some objections to it, which will take us into an examination of the relation between having a self and having a good.  Although it is not true that some creatures are “more important” than others, it is true that the fact that some creatures have less of a self means that things may be, in a general way, less important to them.

About Christine Korsgaard

Christine M. Korsgaard is Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University, where she has taught since 1991. She works on moral philosophy and its history, practical rationality, the nature of agency, personal identity, and the ethics of our treatment of animals. She is the author of four books.  Creating the Kingdom of Ends  is a collection of papers on Kant’s moral philosophy and Kantian approaches to contemporary problems in moral philosophy. The Sources of Normativity is an exploration of the development of modern views about the basis of obligation, culminating in a defense of the Kantian view. The Constitution of Agency is a collection of papers on practical reason and moral psychology. Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity is an account of practical reason and morality grounded in the nature of human agency.

Korsgaard is currently at work on two books: Fellow Creatures, a book about the moral and legal standing of non-human animals, and The Natural History of the Good, a book about the place of value in nature.