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How Philosophy Can Help Break the International Whaling Deadlock


This year, Sea Shepherd will not follow the Japanese whaling fleet into the Southern Ocean for the first summer since 2005, but philosophy may provide a pathway to resolving the whaling dispute using international law.

By Dr David Coady, Dr Brendan Gogarty and Dr Jeffrey McGee

When philosophers have looked at the topic of whaling, they have confined their attention to a fairly narrow set of ethical questions, such as whether international law should permit certain forms of traditional indigenous whaling or extend legal rights to whales themselves. However, there is another important issue which has so far been largely neglected by philosophy, even though it is at the forefront of current international legal disputes over the status of whaling: the issue of so-called ‘scientific whaling’.

Dr David Coady is a senior lecturer in philosophy and gender studies at the University of Tasmania.

Dr Brendan Gogarty is a lecturer in law at the University of Tasmania.

Dr Jeffrey McGee is a senior lecturer in climate change, marine and Antarctic law at the University of Tasmania.

This article is an edited extract from an article published in the Australian Journal of International Affairs on 2 July 2017. It may be accessed in its unabridged form here.

Published on: 07 Sep 2017 10:08am