Lawrence Finsen

Professor, Philosophy


P: 909.748.8651

Office: Philosophy, Hall of Letters #302

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 and Logic

  • Ethics and Social Philosophy

  • 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)

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 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.

Professional Affiliations

Asian Studies Advisory Committee