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Political Theory Workshop - David Plunkett

October 14, 2016 - 1:15pm

Justice, Non-Human Animals, and the Methodology of Political Philosophy

One important trend in political philosophy is to hold that non-human animals don’t directly place demands of justice on us. Another important trend is to give considerations of justice normative priority in our general normative theorising about social/political institutions. This situation is problematic, given the actual ethical standing of non-human animals. Either we need a theory of justice that gives facts about non-human animals a non-derivative explanatory role in the determination of facts about what justice involves, or else we should be wary of the default normative priority that considerations of justice have in much of contemporary political philosophy. This discussion brings out important general methodological points tied to the role of concept and word choice in normative theorising about our social/political institutions. These methodological points, I argue, matter for a range of discussions in contemporary political philosophy, including those about global justice. 

David Plunkett is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Dartmouth College. Before coming to Dartmouth, he was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Law and Philosophy program at UCLA.  He is visiting the Philosophy Department at Stanford University during the fall of 2016.

His main areas of current research are in Metaethics, Ethics, Philosophy of Law, and the Philosophy of Mind and Language. 


Event Sponsor: 
Political Science Department
Political Theory Workshops (Political Science Department)