Research

Books

Lamey, A. (2011). Frontier Justice: The Global Refugee Crisis and What To Do About It. Doubleday Canada/University of Queensland Press.

Review coverage: Toronto Star 30 March 2011; Ottawa Citizen 3 April 2011; Winnipeg Free Press 9 April 2011; Globe and Mail 22 April 2011; Halifax Chronicle-Herald 1 May 2011; Literary Review of Canada July-August 2011; The Age (Melbourne) 22 November 2011; Sydney Morning Herald 28 January 2012; The Weekend Australian 4 February 2012; Australian Book Review April 2012; Inside Story (Melbourne) 19 July 2012.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Lamey, A (2012). A Liberal Theory of Asylum. Politics, Philosophy and Economics, August 2012 11(3): 235-257.

Hannah Arendt argued that refugees pose a major problem for liberalism. Most liberal theorists endorse the idea of human rights. At the same time, liberalism takes the existence of sovereign states for granted. When large numbers of people petition a liberal state for asylum, Arendt argued, these two commitments will come into conflict. An unwavering respect for human rights would mean that no refugee is ever turned away. Being sovereign, however, allows states to control their borders. States supposedly committed to human rights will thus often violate the rights of refugees by denying them entry. I attempt to defend liberalism from Arendt’s criticism by outlining a rights-based model of asylum that is enforceable by sovereign states. This approach avoids the question of what border enforcement measures, if any, are defensible at the level of ideal justice, and instead seeks to outline a framework of refugee rights that can be realized in a world in which migration controls are a fact of life. Central to my argument is a distinction between the place where a person is recognized as a rights-bearing agent, and the potentially different place where he or she exercises those rights.

Lamey A. (2012) Primitive Self-consciousness and Avian Cognition. The Monist, 95(3): 486-510 (neuroethics issue).

Recent work in moral theory has seen the refinement of theories of moral standing, which increasingly recognize a position of intermediate standing between fully self-conscious entities and those which are merely conscious. Among the most sophisticated concepts now used to denote such intermediate standing is that of primitive self-consciousness, which has been used to more precisely elucidate the moral standing of human newborns. New research into the structure of the avian brain offers a revised view of the cognitive abilities of birds. When this research is approached with a species-specific focus, it appears likely that one familiar species, the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), also exhibits primitive self-consciousness. Given the likelihood that they are primitively self-consciousness, chickens warrant a degree of moral standing that falls short of that enjoyed by persons, but which exceeds the minimal standing of merely conscious entities.

Lamey, A. (2010). Sympathy and Scapegoating in J.M. Coetzee. In Peter Singer & Anton Leist (Eds.), J. M. Coetzee and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Literature. New York: Columbia University Press.

J.M. Coetzee’s book, Elizabeth Costello is one of the stranger works to appear in recent years. Yet if we focus our attention on the book’s two chapters dealing with animals, two preoccupations emerge. The first sees Coetzee use animals to evoke a particular conception of ethics, one similar to that of the philosopher Mary Midgley. Coetzee’s second theme connects animals to the phenomena of scapegoating, as it has been characterized by the philosophical anthropologist René Girard. While both themes involve human interactions with animals, each transcends application to that particular issue and raises deeper questions, respectively concerning the foundations of morality and the therapeutic allure of political violence. Making explicit these two preoccupations enhances our understanding of Coetzee’s fiction, particularly Disgrace. However, when Coetzee’s two philosophical strands are analyzed in their own terms, the ethics of sympathy is shown to be a more coherent notion than the understanding of politics he takes over from Girard.

Lamey, A. (2007). Food Fight! Davis versus Regan on the Ethics of Eating Beef. Journal of Social Philosophy, 38(2): 331-348.

One of the starting assumptions in the debate over the ethical status of animals is that someone who is committed to reducing animal suffering should not eat meat. Steven Davis has recently advanced a novel criticism of this view. He argues that individuals who are committed to reducing animal suffering should not adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, as Tom Regan an other animal rights advocates claim, but one containing free-range beef. To make his case Davis highlights an overlooked form of animal harm, that done to field animals in crop production. Yet while Davis’s argument is ingenious and thought-provoking, it is not a successful challenge to vegetarianism and veganism’s status as the diets that most advance animal rights. Scientific studies of crop production that Davis draws on document two different forms of harm done to field animals: those that are directly killed by harvesting equipment and those that are killed by other animals. Once this distinction is made explicit, the degree to which such studies pose a problem for animal protection theory considerably weakens. Davis also overlooks philosophically significant forms of harm to human beings that are present in beef production but not crop harvesting. Finally, he bases his argument on the controversial assumption that there is no difference between deliberate and accidental killing – either of animals or people. Although these problems defeat Davis’s attempt to offer an immanent critique of Regan’s animal rights position, his analysis does have important dietary ramifications that animal advocates should take into account.

Other Articles

Lamey, A. (1999). Francophonia Forever: The Contradiction in Charles Taylor’s Politics of Recognition. Times Literary Supplement (London), 23 July, pp. 12-15.

  • Translated into Polish as “Niekonsekwencje \’Polityki uznania\’ Charlesa Taylora,” Odra (Warsaw), 2003, 43(1): 23-30.
  • Reprinted as “Mr. Taylor’s Politics of Misrecognition,” National Post (Toronto), 21 August 1999, B6-7.
  • Syllabus item for POL 425/2127Y: Multiculturalism in Canada, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Instructor Donald Forbes.
  • Syllabus item for LGST 107: After Evil: The Political Morality of Survivorship and Recovery, Legal Studies Program, University of California Santa Cruz, Instructor Robert Meister.
  • Eighteen citations in books and journal articles.

Book reviews

Lamey, A. (2010). Review of Toward a Political Philosophy of Race, by Falguni Sheth. Albany: State University of New York Press. African Studies Quarterly 10(4): 157-61 (2,700 words).

Lamey, A. (2007). Review of Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership by Martha Nussbaum. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Philosophical Books, 48(4): 376-381 (2,400 words).

Lamey, A. (1996). The Wacousta Syndrome: Literature, Nationalism and Lousy Taste. The New Republic, 24 June: 33-40. Essay-review of Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature, by Margaret Atwood (6,000 words).