Social relationships are usually reserved for the human domain. Could there be deeper links between animal conduct and a moral philosophy? The 2014 Bernard Malis Memorial Lecture, “The Emotional Lives of Animals and Why They Matter,” incorporates new behavioral research with the passionate musings of Dr. Marc Bekoff to answer this question and more.
Dr. Bekoff is the co-founder (with Jane Goodall) of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment for Animals. Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he has published 25 books and written more than 800 articles throughout his career. In addition to his original work, Dr. Bekoff has edited three encyclopedias including the Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare.
“Dr. Marc Bekoff is an award winning scientist who maintains that non-human animals are sentient beings with emotions, feelings and needs much like humans do,” said Dr. Murphy. “His many publications in scientific journals – along with numerous essays, books, and presentations to the scientific community – go far beyond the anecdotal evidence others have used to support the need to treat animals with greater respect.”
By studying why and how emotions evolved among many animal species, as well as demonstrating the social and survival advantage of resulting behaviors, Dr. Bekoff is able to interpret the differences between “us” and “them” are much fewer than people realize.
“The implications of his work are thus even more important for those of us who study and work in science, who often view other animals as ‘model organisms’ rather than respecting them as unique, emotional beings,” said Dr. Murphy.
Free and open to the public, the lecture begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12, in the Astra Zeneca Auditorium of the McNeil Science and Technology Center’s (McNeil STC). Dr. Bekoff will speak for 45 minutes, in particular focusing on the importance of recognizing animal minds as accessible evidence of sentience. He will take questions afterward.
The Department of Humanities’ Bernard J. Malis Memorial Lectureship is made possible by his personal endowment. Malis received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science. In the past, this lecture has brought the USciences community together with other prominent researchers including Adam Levine, Philadelphia Water Department consultant turned accomplished author; and Dr. Michael Gloth, Director of Geriatrics Ambulatory Services at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes.