Are Animals Persons? An Exploration of Personhood in a Multispecies Context | University of Oxford

Are Animals Persons? An Exploration of Personhood in a Multispecies Context

Dr Celia Deane-Drummond - Senior Research Fellow in Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion
Event date
Event time
17:00 - 18:30
Regent's Park College
Pusey Street
Venue details

Collier Room

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required
Not required

This lecture considers arguments for and objections to extending the notion of personhood beyond the human community. The background to this discussion is philosophical debates about whether animals have moral worth, intrinsic value, subjectivity, and moral agency, but also the definition of personhood. Dr Celia Deane-Drummond will argue that if personhood is extended it should not be confused with divine image bearing. While some theologians resist an anthropology of divine image bearing on the basis that it could lead to unhelpful notions of human superiority,  she argues in favour of its retention. Divine image bearing is, like wisdom, a complex term that has its own chequered history of interpretation. Image bearing is also a reminder that human persons bear a special responsibility in a multispecies community in a way that personhood alone does not. Enlarging a notion of personhood may broaden the moral sphere to include at least some animals, but at the same time it does specify how to act in situations of conflicting interests.