Lawrence Finsen

Professor Emeritus, Philosophy

Stock Profile Photo


Ph.D. in Philosophy, SUNY at Buffalo, 1982

B.A. in Philosophy, Lake Forest College, 1973


Hall of Letters
P: 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 Taught

PHIL 336 Philosophy of Mind

PHIL 334 Epistemology

PHIL 350 Symbolic Logic

PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy

PHIL 151 Reasoning and Logic

Ethics and Social Philosophy

PHIL 205 17th and 18th Century Philosophy

Various May Term travel courses (in recent years: Japan and Its Gardens; Service in Cambodia; Service in Southeast Asia)

First Year Seminars (recent topics: Vegetarianisms; Thinking Critically About the Media; Japanese Buddhism)


California State University, San Bernardino (1978-1979)


"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 and Berberet, A New Faculty Compact. Anker, 2002

(with Nancy Carrick) The Persuasive Pen: An Integrated Approach to Reasoning and Writing, Jones and Bartlett, 1997.

(with Susan Finsen) "The Animal Rights Movement in America: From Compassion to Respect," Twayne Publishers, 1994.

Awards, Honors, Grants

Phi Beta Kappa

University of Redlands Outstanding Faculty Award (for Research/Scholarship/Creative Activity)


Asian Studies Advisory Committee