Thursday 30th Mar 2023

Kitcher Society Philosophy Talk




On 14 March, the Kitcher Society hosted Dr Elizabeth Mackintosh who spoke about ‘The moral community: persons and the planet’ – a topic very appropriate to these difficult times of climate change. She explored, from a philosophical viewpoint, how the way we think could be contributing to damaging the planet.

DG/Year 12 pupil Emily wrote:

‘On 14 March, Dr Elizabeth Mackintosh gave a deeply engaging talk about the personhood and the environment. She opened by discussing the rights of nature and eco-agency. She raised key questions of what am I? who am I? why am I?, as the answers to these questions is where personhood lies. She then went on to discuss where these questions stop allying to nature. Do natural things have a personhood, and should they be treated like they do? She outlined personhood in more detail from the biological, psychological, substantive, and theological accounts, and raised problems within the personhood debate. At the beginning of the talk, she asked everybody to raise their hand if they think a river should have personhood and would that personhood protect the river. It was very interesting to see a division within the listeners and how that changed when Dr Mackintosh posed the same question again at the end. There were many thought-provoking questions asked, including the place of religion, human hierarchy within the food chain, vegetarianism and veganism, and our impact on the environment. Dr Mackintosh always came back ready with a clear and concise answer. She was a lovely speaker and we hope she comes back soon.’