[BERG] Claridication about the lectures

Alexander Weiss alex.weiss at ed.ac.uk
Fri Nov 4 11:22:12 GMT 2011

Hi everybody,

I would like to clarify matters for the BERG group regarding the lecture series 
and to explain my motivation, particularly as I apparently did a poor job of 
doing so in the initial email. Let me first say that I am not trying to change 
anybody's mind and people are, of course, free to hold their own views. 
Moreover, If anybody still does not wish to attend, I understand completely.

The lecture series is dedicated to the "memory" and not the man and, by 
dedication, I do not mean veneration, celebration, or otherwise. The series is 
named as it is because Harlow's name is associated with two things. The first is 
research on attachment, learning, and primate behavior. The second is the fact 
that the controversial nature of his research led to massively increased 
awareness regarding ethical and welfare considerations in animal research. As 
such, every other year the lectures will given by experts in the ethics of 
animal research and/or animal welfare from fields such as philosophy. Moreover, I 
would like to stress that the research talks will not include invasive studies. 

I understand that Harlow's name and work evokes passion and anger among many 
people. However, I had hoped that these lectures would be a constructive way to 
move forward, both by highlighting the outstanding research in these topics that 
can be done ethically and without harming or interfering with the subjects and 
in bringing up ethical issues that need to be considered when studying nonhuman 
primates or other animals. 

I hope that I have been able to better explain myself. I also would like to ask 
for help in two matters. First, any suggestions for a subtitle for the lecture 
series that would better explain what they are about would be hugely 
appreciated. Second, recommendations for suitable speakers, particularly for the 
animal ethics/welfare talks, would be great, too. So far I have gotten some 
excellent suggestions for the latter, but more cannot hurt.

Anyway, I am sorry to be so long-winded and appreciate the time you have taken 
to read this. If anybody wishes to discuss this with me further, please feel 
free to contact me directly. 



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