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Profile: Elisa Aaltola
  1. Elisa Aaltola (2013). Affective Empathy as Core Moral Agency: Psychopathy, Autism and Reason Revisited. Philosophical Explorations 17 (1):76-92.
    Empathy has become a common point of debate in moral psychology. Recent developments in psychiatry, neurosciences and social psychology have led to the revival of sentimentalism, and the ‘empathy thesis’ has suggested that affective empathy, in particular, is a necessary criterion of moral agency. The case of psychopaths – individuals incapable of affective empathy and moral agency, yet capable of rationality – has been utilised in support of this case. Critics, however, have been vocal. They have asserted that the case (...)
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  2. Elisa Aaltola (2013). Skepticism, Empathy, and Animal Suffering. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10 (4):457-467.
    The suffering of nonhuman animals has become a noted factor in deciding public policy and legislative change. Yet, despite this growing concern, skepticism toward such suffering is still surprisingly common. This paper analyzes the merits of the skeptical approach, both in its moderate and extreme forms. In the first part it is claimed that the type of criterion for verification concerning the mental states of other animals posed by skepticism is overly (and, in the case of extreme skepticism, illogically) demanding. (...)
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  3. Elisa Aaltola (2013). Varieties of Empathy and Moral Agency. Topoi 33 (1):1-11.
    Contemporary literature includes a wide variety of definitions of empathy. At the same time, the revival of sentimentalism has proposed that empathy serves as a necessary criterion of moral agency. The paper explores four common definitions in order to map out which of them best serves such agency. Historical figures are used as the backdrop against which contemporary literature is analysed. David Hume’s philosophy is linked to contemporary notions of affective and cognitive empathy, Adam Smith’s philosophy to projective empathy, and (...)
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  4. Elisa Aaltola (2012). Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture explores the multifaceted moral meanings allocated to non-human suffering in contemporary Western culture.
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  5. Elisa Aaltola (2012). Tres argumentos estándar contra el valor individual de los animales no-humanos. Télos 17 (1).
    Animal ethics has presented challenging questions regarding the human-animalrelationship. According to some philosophers, non-human animals have value inthemselves. This claim is most commonly based on sentience or consciousness inthe phenomenal sense: since it is like something to be an animal, animals cannotbe treated as mere biological matter. However, the claim has been met with criticism.This paper analyses three of the most common arguments against what ishere called the “individual value” of non-human animals. These arguments are thecapacity argument, the humanistic argument, (...)
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  6. Elisa Aaltola (2011). The Philosophy Behind the Movement: Animal Studies Vs. Animal Rights. Society and Animals 19 (4):393-406.
    Recently, many pro-animal thinkers have expressed critical views on the animal rights movement. In particular, the movement has been criticized for being philosophically uninformed, politically regressive, and practically unpersuasive. This paper investigates these criticisms and seeks to map out the philosophy behind the grassroots animal rights movement, specifically. It concludes that the criticism presented by animal studies scholars is often misplaced due to a lack of understanding of the philosophical notions within the movement, but that the critics are right to (...)
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  7. Elisa Aaltola (2010). Animal Ethics and the Argument From Absurdity. Environmental Values 19 (1):79-98.
    Arguments for the inherent value, equality of interests,or rights of non-human animals have presented a strong challenge for the anthropocentric worldview. However, they have been met with criticism.One form of criticism maintains that,regardless of their theoretical consistency,these 'pro-animal arguments' cannot be accepted due to their absurdity. Often, particularly inter-species interest conflicts are brought to the fore: if pro-animal arguments were followed,we could not solve interest conflicts between species,which is absurd. Because of this absurdity, the arguments need to be abandoned. The (...)
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  8. Elisa Aaltola (2010). The Anthropocentric Paradigm and the Posibility of Animal Ethics. Ethics and the Environment 15 (1):pp. 27-50.
    Animal ethics has presented various 'pro-animal arguments' according to which non-human animals have a more significant moral status than traditionally assumed. Although these arguments (brought forward, for instance, by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Mary Midgley, Stephen Clark, and Mark Rowlands) have been met with various forms of criticism, a quick overview of animal ethics literature suggests that they are difficult to overcome. Pro-animal arguments seem to have consistency and argumentative support on their side. However, recently a new type of criticism (...)
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  9. Isis Brook, Katie Mcshane, Clive L. Spash, Nina Witoszek, Elisa Aaltola, Maniklal Adhikary, Samrat Chowdhury, Kevin Behrens, Arnold Berleant & Catherine Butler (2010). Index to Environmental Values Volume 19, 2010. Environmental Values 19:553-556.
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  10. Elisa Aaltola (2009). Philosophy and Animal Studies: Calarco, Castricano, and Diamond. Society and Animals 17 (3):279-286.
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  11. Elisa Aaltola (2008). Personhood and Animals. Environmental Ethics 30 (2):175-193.
    A common Western assumption is that animals cannot be persons. Even in animal ethics, the concept of personhood is often avoided. At the same time, many in cognitive ethology argue that animals do have minds, and that animal ethics presents convincing arguments supporting the individual value of animals. Although “animal personhood” may seem to be an absurd notion, more attention needs to placed on the reasons why animals can or cannot be included in the category of persons. Of three different (...)
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  12. Elisa Aaltola (2007). The Moral Value of Animals. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:219-225.
    Altruism has often been thought to be the reason we treat animals with a certain moral respect. Animals are not moral agents who could reciprocally honour our well being, and because of this duties toward them are considered to be based on other-directed motivations. Altruism is a vague notion, and in the context of animals can be divided into at least three different alternatives. The first one equates altruism with benevolence or "kindness"; the second one argues altruism is based on (...)
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  13. Elisa Aaltola (2005). Animal Ethics and Interest Conflicts. Ethics and the Environment 10 (1):19-48.
    : Animal ethics has presented convincing arguments for the individual value of animals. Animals are not only valuable instrumentally or indirectly, but in themselves. Less has been written about interest conflicts between humans and other animals, and the use of animals in practice. The motive of this paper is to analyze different approaches to interest conflicts. It concentrates on six models, which are the rights model, the interest model, the mental complexity model, the special relations model, the multi-criteria model, and (...)
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  14. Elisa Aaltola, Gary Backhaus, John Murungi, Jennifer Bates, Emily Brady, Emily Brady Haapala, J. Baird Callicott & Robert L. Chapman (2003). Report on Books and Articles. Environmental Ethics 24:75-91.
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