This weekend (Dec 7-8) I am attending the Personhood Beyond the Human conference at Yale University. Here is a description of the conference’s agenda:
The event will focus on personhood for nonhuman animals, including great apes, cetaceans, and elephants, and will explore the evolving notions of personhood by analyzing them through the frameworks of neuroscience, behavioral science, philosophy, ethics, and law….Special consideration will be given to discussions of nonhuman animal personhood, both in terms of understanding the history, science, and philosophy behind personhood, and ways to protect animal interests through the establishment of legal precedents and by increasing public awareness.
I will be speaking on Sunday afternoon. Here is an abstract for my talk:
Personhood for Artificial Agents: What it teaches us about animals’ rights
For the past few years, I have presented arguments based on my book, A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents, which suggest that legal and perhaps even moral and metaphysical personhood for artificial agents is not a conceptual impossibility. In some cases, a form of dependent legal personality might even be possible in today’s legal frameworks for such entities. As I have presented these arguments, I have encountered many objections to them.In this talk, I will examine some of these objections as they have taught me a great deal about how personhood for artificial agents is relevant to the question of human beings’ relationships with animals. I will conclude with the claims that a) advocating personhood for artificial agents should not be viewed as an anti-humanistic perspective and b) rather, it should allow us to assess the question of animals’ rights more sympathetically. Bio
Steven Wise, the most prominent animal rights lawyer in the US, will be speaking today and sharing some rather interesting news about some very important lawsuits filed by his organization, the Nonhuman Rights Project, on behalf of great apes’, arguing for their legal personhood. (Some information can be found here, and there is heaps more at the website obviously.)
If you are in the area, do stop on by.
4 thoughts on “The Personhood Beyond the Human Conference”
The irony is, if the animals formed a corporation, say Apes In Zoos, then they’d be persons. Maybe someone should help them do that. It sounds like a fascinating conference on the cutting edge of human thought. I hope you’ll let us see some of your content here on this blog.
Thanks for the comment and interest. If you like, I can email you a couple of papers. The slides were pretty skimpy, but I can post them anyway.
Thanks, Samir. I would be interested. email@example.com
Btw, did you see the NYT article yesterday or the day before about the suit being filed on chimpanzees’ behalf?