index Writing And Research

"After my graduation, when I embarked on my teaching career, my classes in moral philosophy initially mimicked those I had had as a graduate student. But I was never wholly satisfied with this way of doing moral philosophy. What had originally attracted me to the subject were my deep worries over what things are just and unjust, right and wrong, good and bad. And yet here I was teaching moral philosophy, and doing research in the field, in ways that required that I set these important questions aside. Perhaps I would have managed to leave them permanently behind me had it not been for a development over which neither I nor any other ordinary person had much control. Before any of us quite realized it America was at war with Vietnam. And that fact changed a great deal, including the direction of my own intellectual development. The dilemma I faced at the time was quite simple. Every evening on the news I sat and watched people being killed. Americans and Vietnamese. Young men the age of most of my students. Women and children. And here I was, an educated moral philosopher, worrying about the meaning of the word "right" and whether there is such a thing as the naturalistic fallacy. I could see myself fiddling with my profession while Vietnam burned. Something had to give. And since it was beyond my power to stop the war (though I worked politically to help end it), I decided to approach the philosophical side. I began to think about how my training as a moral philosopher could be applied to the questions that were being asked about the war. Ought we to be there? Was the war a just war? Is violence ever justified? Once the logic of these questions took root in my mind they acquired a life of their own. I was along for the ride-of-ideas. Or so it now seems. As strange as it may sound, the immediate ancestor of my views about animal rights was my first crude attempt to come to terms morally with the war in Vietnam."

—Tom Regan, The Bird in the Cage: A Glimpse of My Life—An Autobiography

  Brochure from a bioethics conference organized in part by Tom Regan Regan and Carter Regan Writing Letter to Tom Rgan from Nash Winstead Tom Typing


An American Philosopher The Career of Tom Regan

Regan’s collected essays document the early development of his articulation of a rights-based understanding of the moral ties that bind us to other animals. Some are as follows: Earthbound: New Introductory Essays in Environmental Ethics, edited by Tom Regan, N.Y: Random House, 1985; All That Dwell Therein: Essays on Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982; Bloomsbury’s Prophet: G. E. Moore and the Development of His Moral Philosophy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986. Regan has reviewed many books about philosophy and philosophers. One example is Nicholas Griffin’s book, Russell’s Idealist Apprenticeship, published by Oxford University Press. Regan and President Jimmy Carter are pictured above (1984). Regan was a fellow at the National Humanities Center at this time. Regan also helped to organize a National Bioethics Institute at NC State University in 1999.


Introduction Family Life and Education Writing and Research Animal Rights Teaching Culture and Animals Foundation
Introduction Family Life and Education Writing and Research Animal Rights Teaching Culture and Animals Foundation
Virtual Exhibits Site Special Collections Research Center North Carolina State University Libraries Home Page