Lawry Finsen

Professor, Philosophy

Degrees: Ph.D. in Philosophy, SUNY at Buffalo, 1982; B.A. in Philosophy, Lake Forest College, 1973

Office: Philosophy, Hall of Letters #302

Office Hours: Wednesday, Friday 1 – 2:30, other times by appointment

Phone: 909/748-8651



Area of Expertise

Animal-Human Ethics

Description of Research

I have worked on issues relating to animal-human ethics for a long time. That interest continues in a current project concerning the problem arising from the apparent impotence of individual agents to make a difference to large-scale problems (e.g., factory farming), resulting in questions concerning whether we nonetheless have moral responsibilities with respect to such problems. In my current research, I am considering whether the notion of collective or shared responsibility can help address this problem.

Courses Offered at Redlands

  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Epistemology
  • Symbolic Logic
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Reasoning & Logic
  • Ethics & Social Philosophy
  • 17th & 18th Century Philosophy
  • Various May Term travel courses (in recent years: Japan & Its Gardens; Service in Cambodia; Service in Southeast Asia)
  • First Year Seminars (recent topics: Vegetarianisms; Thinking Critically About the Media; Japanese Buddhism)

Degrees Held

  • Ph.D. in Philosophy, SUNY at Buffalo, 1982
  • B.A. in Philosophy, Lake Forest College, 1973

Previous Teaching Experience

California State University, San Bernardino (1978-1979)

Awards and Honors

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • University of Redlands Outstanding Faculty Award (for Research/Scholarship/Creative Activity)


  • “Responding to “Crimes of Stupefying Proportions”: Understanding the Passion and the Divide Between Vegetarian Reformers and the Unreformed” – UR Philosophy Colloquium, 2007; Institute of Moralogy, Reitaku University, Japan 2005.
  • Commentator on Jeremey Garrett’s “Utility-Based Vegetarianism and Human Health: A Response to the Causal Impotence Objection,” American Philosophical Association, March, 2006.
  • “Animal Rights, Animal Liberation: Seminal Ideas in the Movement to Extend Moral Consideration to Nonhuman Animals,” Studies in Moralogy, September 2005.
  • “Faculty As Institutional Citizens: Reconceiving Service and Governance Work,” in McMillan & Berberet, A New Faculty Compact. Anker, 2002
  • (with Nancy Carrick) The Persuasive Pen: An Integrated Approach to Reasoning and Writing, Jones & Bartlett, 1997.
  • (with Susan Finsen) "The Animal Rights Movement in America: From Compassion to Respect," Twayne Publishers, 1994.

Professional Affiliations

Asian Studies Advisory Committee

Quiet the Mind
meditation room

The University’s Meditation Room opened in 2007 and is one of the first “contemplative classroom” spaces in the country.

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