Can empathy play a role in the pursuit of justice, and do either justice or empathy help in thinking about ethics beyond the human? Wesleyan philosopher Lori Gruen explores these two questions in her March 10, 2016 lecture titled “Justice and Empathy Beyond the Human” as the 2016 Robert D. Clark Lecturer in the Humanities. In her talk, Gruen argues that empathy is central to justice, and that it should play a central role in our ethical thinking and in our dealings with all sorts of different others, including other animals.
Gruen’s work lies at the intersection of ethical theory and practice, with a particular focus on issues that impact those often overlooked in traditional ethical investigations, e.g. women, people of color, and non-human animals. She has published extensively on topics in animal ethics, ecofeminism, and practical ethics more broadly, and is currently thinking about intersections of race, gender, and species and, as always, about chimpanzees