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Doctor Heather Browning

Doctor Heather Browning

Lecturer in Philosophy

Research interests

  • Philosophy of biology
  • Animal welfare science
  • Animal ethics

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.

Connect with Heather

Research

Research interests

  • Philosophy of biology
  • Animal welfare science
  • Animal ethics
  • Philosophy of mind

Current research

My research focuses on concepts and measurement of animal welfare, and how this influences our ethical deliberations and policy decisions. There are two primary strands to this research: a philosophy of science strand, and an applied ethics strand.

The first involves a philosophical analysis of the methods and challenges in animal welfare science, with an aim to identify problems and improve the measurement of animal welfare. In particular, examining the ways in which an understanding of the evolution of and mechanisms of sentience can help refine and improve the ways we do animal welfare science. 

The second looks at how we can develop an empirically-informed animal ethics, based on a deep understanding of the biology, psychology and evolution of animals and how this might be applied to specific issues within animal ethics. I am currently working with Walter Veit on a short book called What Are Zoos For? to be released in 2024, as part of a series with Bristol University Press.

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