Annette Baier

New Zealand philosopher

Annette Claire Baier (née Stoop; 11 October 19292 November 2012) was a New Zealand philosopher and Hume scholar, focused in particular on Hume's moral psychology. She was well known also for her contributions to feminist philosophy and to the philosophy of mind, where she was strongly influenced by her former colleague, Wilfrid Sellars.



Knowing Our Place in the Animal World

in Ethics and Animals, edited by Harlan B. Miller and William H. Williams (Clifton, NJ: Humana Press, 1983, ISBN 978-0-89603-053-4), pp. 61-77.
  • One ground for suspicion of apparently sincere moral convictions is their link with some special interest of those who hold them. The questions cui bono and cui malo are appropriate questions to raise when we are searching for possible contaminants of conscience. Entrenched privilege, and fear of losing it, distorts one's moral sense.
    • p. 63
  • Animals themselves cannot plead their cause, and those who plead it for them have no obvious financial or other selfish interest in the issue, although many may have “vested” their emotions in it. When we turn to special gain from maintaining existing practices, special loss if they were to be changed, we find a large number of groups whose views might be discounted. Butchers, furriers, hunters, cattlemen, chicken farmers, scientific experimenters on animals would, unless compensated, all have to suffer significant personal loss if we were to change our practices. They cannot therefore be expected to see the moral issue without the distortion of special interest. The scientists might claim that in their case their own interest coincides with a universal human interest, but I think the butcher and the furrier could make a similar claim[.]
    • pp. 63-64
  • I think there is at least one moral theory of respectable lineage and good independent credentials that can accommodate such fairly minimal intuitions about us and animals. This is the theory Hume offers us. I do not consider Hume a forerunner of utilitarianism, and therefore what I shall go on to say in defense of Hume is not intended as a defense of any version of utilitarianism. I see Hume to be much closer to Aristotle than to Mill, to be offering us a theory about human virtues, not a theory about utility maximization and the duties that might involve.
    • p. 68
  • Animals can not disapprove, but they can complain and protest, at least until their vocal chords are cut to spare experimenters their protests.
    • p. 73
  • Hume describes (E, 235) as a “fancied monster” a man who has “no manner of concern to his fellow-creatures but to regard the happiness and misery of all sensible beings with greater indifference than even two contiguous shades of the same color” (ibid.). To limit one's concern to those sensible beings who are of one's own species is to be part-monster, but such monsters, alas, are not merely fancied ones.
    • p. 75
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