Elisa Aaltola

Animal love: The moral risks and benefits of loving other animals

Many people define themselves as “animal lovers”. Yet, despite animal love being in the increase, also the consumption of nonhuman creatures is growing rapidly. As the “meat paradox” suggests, many individuals both love and eat animals. What does this tell us about “animal love”?

The talk will explore the concept of “love” through the viewpoint of philosophy and moral psychology. What do classics of philosophy teach us about love? How does contemporary psychology define the roots and causes of love? The aim is to distinguish destructive forms of animal love from morally productive varieties.

My claim will be that misconceptions of “animal love” can increase animal consumption. Because of this, I will also argue that animal advocacy would benefit from giving more space for narratives of inclusive, realistic and attentive animal love.

Bio: Elisa Aaltola, PhD, works as a collegium-researcher in philosophy at the University of Turku, Finland. Her research has focused on animal ethics, animal philosophy and moral psychology.

Aaltola has published eight books on these topics, including Varieties of Empathy: Moral Psychology and Animal Ethics (Rowman & Littlefield 2018), Animal Ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy (co-edited with John Hadley, Rowman & Littlefield 2014), and Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture (Palgrave MacMillan 2012). She is also the author of over 35 peer-reviewed papers on animal philosophy.

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