Call for Submissions for the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue™
Issue 13: Animal Rights & Environmental Ethics
Is sentience the minimum threshold for deeming a creature worthy of ethical concern? Are humans the sole objects of ethical reasoning? Whether we regard value as intrinsic or based on other factors—such as the ability to experience pain—bears heavily on our treatment of non-human living entities. From phosphorescent phytoplankton to communicative chimpanzees, the animal kingdom hosts a wondrous array of flora and fauna whose worth should seem self-evident. Despite the grandeur and wonder of the natural world, humans tend to conceptualize themselves as distinct and apart from the rest of the carbon-based life forms inhabiting this planet. Numerous experts warn that ecological devastation on a cataclysmic scale is not only possible but imminent, and they lay blame squarely at the feet of humankind. Our largely anthropocentric understanding of life and the universe has occluded our ability to consider the consequences of our actions. While global actors at all levels rally to protect the earth and its numerous denizens from these dire consequences, they may find it impossible to catalyze change without altering the paradigmatic approach that has led to the level of jeopardy we may be facing at present.
Religious traditions provide an abundance of teachings regarding humankind’s relationship to its surrounding environs, from the Abrahamic concept of stewardship to the Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu tenet of ahimsa (avoidance of violence or harm). In this issue of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, we welcome contributors to submit academic articles and essays situated in religious traditions considering the vast number of questions in the fields of moral and ethical reasoning related to the fair treatment, fair use, and rights of animals and the environment. Below, we have identified a number of potential avenues to explore:
What is the minimum threshold for describing an entity as worthy of ethical consideration? Is it pain? Sentience? The ability to communicate? The ability to use tools? The ability to manipulate one’s surrounding environment?
Is the value-centered approach to animal and environmental rights useful?
Should the concerns of an animal or the environment ever trump human concerns?
Are humans the ultimate, exclusive units of ethical concern? If so, do humans have the right to determine the fates of animals and the environment?
What constitutes fair use of animals and the environment? What is proper treatment?
Do animals have rights? Does the environment?
The Journal is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to innovative research on and study of the interactions that take place within and between religious communities. Published online, it is designed to increase both the quality and frequency of interchanges between religious groups and their leaders and scholars. By fostering communication and study, the Journal hopes to contribute to a more tolerant, pluralistic society. Recent issues have centered on critical themes in inter-religious studies, including “Religion and Revolution” and “Women, Feminism, and Inter-Religious Dialogue.”
All submissions must be the original, previously unpublished work of the author(s). Authors are also advised to read about the Journal and the previous issue prior to submitting an article.
Submissions should be around 3,500 words, including references and a 100-word abstract. They should strictly adhere to the Fifteenth Edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, utilizing endnotes for citations and footnotes for discursive elaboration (please do not use in-text citation for anything, including references to sacred texts). Submissions should be in a .doc or .docx format, both of which are available in open-source format as well as in most word processing software.
Please be sure to separate sentences by a single space rather than two, and please make use of serial commas (e.g. “yes, no, and maybe” rather than “yes, no and maybe”). Any failure to comply with stylistic standards will be pointed out by staff editors, and authors will be expected to correct the discrepancies themselves during the editing process.
Co-authored articles are welcomed and encouraged. Articles may be submitted online at www.irdialogue.org/submissions or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submissions for the thirteenth issue of the Journal is June 15, 2013. Articles submitted after this date will not be considered for publication in the thirteenth issue. You will hear back about the status of your submission by July 31, 2013.
After an initial vetting process by the editorial board, each submission will undergo a rigorous peer-review by members of the Board of Scholars and Practitioners. If accepted for publication, the Journal's staff may edit the submission for mechanics and adherence to writing standards.