UWTSD Lampeter lecturer contributes to three new Philosophy publications


Dr Rebekah Humphreys, a lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has recently contributed to three new publications, one which focuses on crime narratives, marking and nonhuman beings, the other two on issues of justice in relation to nonhuman creatures.

Based on the University’s Lampeter campus, Dr Humphreys’ areas of interest are environmental philosophy, applied ethics (particularly environmental ethics, and animal ethics), and moral philosophy in general.  She has teaching interests in additional areas which include ancient Greek philosophy, epistemology, existentialism, and philosophy of mind.

Two papers, co-written with Prof. Robin Attfield, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University, on ‘Justice and Non-Human Beings’ were recently published in the Bangladesh Journal of Bioethics - a publication that promotes multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary study in the field of ethics in medicine and health care, genetics, law, education, policy, science studies and research.

“I am thrilled to have contributed to the Journal’s two special issues on animal ethics. Attfield and I hope that our papers will be promote a ‘turn’ amongst political philosophers in the direction of recognising the problems inherent in accepting that we have moral obligations to animals whilst at the same time denying that they can be recipients of justice. What we say about obligations of justice and about moral obligations need to be brought into line consistently.”

In these papers, Dr Humphreys and her co-author challenge the fascinating relationship between non-human animals and principles of justice with Rainer Ebert, guest editor of the journal, believing their argument to be profound:

"Robin Attfield and Rebekah Humphreys challenge the widely held belief that non-human animals are not included within the scope of the principles of justice, and suggest that the interests of non-human animals sometimes take precedence over the interests of human beings,” says Ebert. “The implications of their argument for our interaction with other animals are profound: e.g., it is a matter of justice and fairness to prevent avoidable and unnecessary animal suffering, rather than a mere matter of compassion."

Dr Rebekah Humphreys has also recently contributed a paper to a forthcoming edited collection on crime and detective narratives called The killing floor and crime narratives: Marking women and nonhuman animals.  In a chapter co-authored with Dr Kate Watson, they focus on the function of the tattoo - on ‘markings’ in a broad sense, both metaphorically and physically, and on the gendered elements of animal representations in crime fiction.  

This multidisciplinary paper aims to provide a literary reading and philosophical analysis of issues surrounding the depiction of women and of nonhuman animals in contemporary crime narratives. Indeed, one reviewer claims that the piece is a ‘strong chapter which engages with the much-remarked upon objectification of women in crime fiction in an original way’.

“The ‘unspeakable things people do to each other’ (Hayder, 2006) will be viewed through feminist and philosophical lenses, and through an analysis of the significance of etching into the skin the paper will link the exploitation and objectification of the bodies of women and of nonhuman animals,” says Dr Humphreys.  “In doing so, we will make analogies between the use of animals in modern-day practices and the position of women in contemporary crime fiction.  In so far as marking and scarification can function as a representation and reflection of the perceived value of certain beings, particularly of nonhuman beings and women and of their status in society, this paper will raise a number of pertinent ethical issues related to perceptions of women and to the commercial use of nonhuman animals.”

The killing floor and crime narratives: Marking women and nonhuman animals will be published this Spring by Manchester University Press.

For further information about the Philosophy courses offered at UWTSD’S Lampeter campus, please visit www.uwtsd.ac.uk

Further Information

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