Moral Status of Animals

Edited by Nicolas Delon (College of Charleston, New College of Florida)
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  1. Nonhuman Self-Investment Value.Gary Comstock - manuscript
    Guardians of companion animals killed wrongfully in the U.S. historically receive compensatory judgments reflecting the animal’s economic value. As animals are property in torts law, this value typically is the animal’s fair market value—which is often zero. But this is only the animal’s value, as it were, to a stranger and, in light of the fact that many guardians value their animals at rates far in excess of fair market value, legislatures and courts have begun to recognize a second value, (...)
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  2. (Draft) Cows, crickets and clams: On the alleged 'vegan' obligation to eat different kinds of meat.Benjamin Davies - manuscript
    Vegans do not eat meat. This statement seems so obvious that one might be tempted to claim that it is analytically true. Yet several authors argue that the underlying logic of veganism warrants – perhaps even demands – eating meat. I begin by considering an important principle that has been important in motivating vegan meat-eating, related to an obligation to reduce or minimise harm. I offer an alternative, rights-based view, and suggest that while this might support an obligation to eat (...)
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  3. Emotionless Animals? Constructionist Theories of Emotion Beyond the Human Case.Jonathan Birch - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
    Could emotions be a uniquely human phenomenon? One prominent theory in emotion science, Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “Theory of Constructed Emotion” (TCE), suggests they might be. The source of the sceptical challenge is that TCE links emotions to abstract concepts tracking socio-normative expectations, and other animals are unlikely to have such concepts. Barrett’s own response to the sceptical challenge is to relativize emotion to the perspective of an interpreter, but this is unpromising. A more promising response may be to amend the (...)
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  4. Letting animals off the hook.Nicolas Delon - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    A growing literature argues that animals can act for moral reasons without being responsible. I argue that the literature often fails to maintain a clear distinction between moral behavior and moral agency, and I formulate a dilemma: either animals are less moral or they are more responsible than the literature suggests. If animals can respond to moral reasons, they are responsible according to an influential view of moral responsibility–Quality of Will. But if they are responsible, as some argue, costly implications (...)
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  5. Is Moral Status Good for You?Thomas Douglas - forthcoming - In Stephen Clarke, Hazem Zohny & Julian Savulescu (eds.), Rethinking Moral Status. Oxford, UK:
    Should we cognitively alter animals in ways that might change their moral status? There has been some discussion of this question. For example, Chan (2009) and Chan and Harris (2001) consider whether we should radically enhance the cognitive capacities of animals, while Thompson (2008) and Shriver (2009) argue that we should in fact substantially disenhance some animals to protect them from suffering. More controversially, some have countenanced radical and possibly moral status-altering transformations of human persons. ... One question relevant to (...)
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  6. Utilitarianism and the Moral Status of Animals: A Psychological Perspective.François Jaquet, Manon Delphine Gouiran & Florian Cova - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-19.
    Recent years have seen a growing interest among psychologists for debates in moral philosophy. Moral psychologists have investigated the causal origins of the opposition between utilitarian and deontological judgments and the psychological underpinnings of people’s beliefs about the moral status of animals. One issue that remains underexplored in this research area is the relationship between people’s disposition to engage in utilitarian thinking and their attitudes towards animals. This gap is unfortunate considering the tight philosophical connection between utilitarianism and the claim (...)
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  7. Kantian Animal Moral Psychology: Empirical Markers for Animal Morality.Erik Nelson - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    I argue that a Kantian inspired investigation into animal morality is both a plausible and coherent research program. To show that such an investigation is possible, I argue that philosophers, such as Korsgaard, who argue that reason demarcates nonhuman animals from the domain of moral beings are equivocating in their use of the term ‘rationality’. Kant certainly regards rationality as necessary for moral responsibility from a practical standpoint, but his distinction between the noumenal and phenomenal means that he can only (...)
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  8. Review of Carol J. Adams, Alice Crary, and Lori Gruen (eds.) The Good It Promises, The Harm It Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism, 2023, Oxford: Oxford University Press. [REVIEW]Richard Pettigrew - forthcoming - Mind.
    Effective altruists (EAs) seek to persuade the globally wealthy to donate a proportion of their income to do good, and specifically to donate it to those charit.
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  9. The moral status of conscious subjects.Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - In Stephen Clarke, Hazem Zohny & Julian Savulescu (eds.), Rethinking Moral Status.
    The chief themes of this discussion are as follows. First, we need a theory of the grounds of moral status that could guide practical considerations regarding how to treat the wide range of potentially conscious entities with which we are acquainted – injured humans, cerebral organoids, chimeras, artificially intelligent machines, and non-human animals. I offer an account of phenomenal value that focuses on the structure and sophistication of phenomenally conscious states at a time and over time in the mental lives (...)
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  10. On the Idea of Degrees of Moral Status.Dick Timmer - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-19.
    A central question in contemporary ethics and political philosophy concerns which entities have moral status. In this article, I provide a detailed analysis of the view that moral status comes in degrees. I argue that degrees of moral status can be specified along two dimensions: (i) the weight of the reason to protect an entity’s morally significant rights and interests; and/or (ii) the rights and interests that are considered morally significant. And I explore some of the complexities that arise when (...)
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  11. Inclusive dignity.Pablo Gilabert - 2024 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 23 (1):22-46.
    The idea of dignity is pervasive in political discourse. It is central to human rights theory and practice, and it features regularly in conceptions of social justice as well as in the social movements they seek to understand or orient. However, dignity talk has been criticized for leading to problematic exclusion. Critics challenge it for undermining our recognition of the rights of non-human animals and of many human individuals (such as children, the elderly, and people with disabilities). I argue that, (...)
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  12. Kantian Ethics and our Duties to Nonhuman Animals.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2024 - Between the Species 27 (1):82-107.
    Many take Kantian ethics to founder when it comes to our duties to animals. In this paper, I advocate a novel approach to this problem. The paper is divided into three sections. In the first, I canvass various passages from Kant in order to set up the problem. In the second, I introduce a novel approach to this problem. In the third, I defend my approach from various objections. By way of preview: I advocate rejecting the premise that nonhuman animals (...)
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  13. Defending a Relational Account of Moral Status.Thaddeus Metz - 2024 - In Mbih Jerome Tosam & Erasmus Masitera (eds.), African Agrarian Philosophy. Springer. pp. 105-124.
    For the more than a decade, I have advanced an account of what makes persons, animals, and other beings entitled to moral treatment for their own sake that is informed by characteristically African ideas about dignity, a great chain of being, and community. Roughly according to this account, a being has a greater moral status, the more it is capable of communing (as a subject) or of us communing with it (as an object). I have mainly argued that this characteristically (...)
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  14. Better Descartes than Aristotle: Talking About Those Who Deny Moral Consideration to Animals.Francesco Allegri - 2023 - Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism 11 (2):85-91.
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  15. Rawls and Animal Moral Personality.Guy Baldwin - 2023 - Animals 13:1238.
    The relationship between animal rights and contractarian theories of justice such as that of Rawls has long been vexed. In this article, I contribute to the debate over the possibility of inclusion of animals in Rawls’s theory of justice by critiquing the rationale he gives for their omission: that they do not possess moral personality. Contrary to Rawls’s assumptions, it appears that some animals may possess the moral powers that comprise moral personality, albeit to a lesser extent than most humans. (...)
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  16. Nonhuman Moral Agency: A Practice-Focused Exploration of Moral Agency in Nonhuman Animals and Artificial Intelligence.Dorna Behdadi - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Gothenburg
    Can nonhuman animals and artificial intelligence (AI) entities be attributed moral agency? The general assumption in the philosophical literature is that moral agency applies exclusively to humans since they alone possess free will or capacities required for deliberate reflection. Consequently, only humans have been taken to be eligible for ascriptions of moral responsibility in terms of, for instance, blame or praise, moral criticism, or attributions of vice and virtue. Animals and machines may cause harm, but they cannot be appropriately ascribed (...)
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  17. Moral Uncertainty and Our Relationships with Unknown Minds.John Danaher - 2023 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 32 (4):482-495.
    We are sometimes unsure of the moral status of our relationships with other entities. Recent case studies in this uncertainty include our relationships with artificial agents (robots, assistant AI, etc.), animals, and patients with “locked-in” syndrome. Do these entities have basic moral standing? Could they count as true friends or lovers? What should we do when we do not know the answer to these questions? An influential line of reasoning suggests that, in such cases of moral uncertainty, we need meta-moral (...)
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  18. Relational nonhuman personhood.Nicolas Delon - 2023 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):569-587.
    This article defends a relational account of personhood. I argue that the structure of personhood consists of dyadic relations between persons who can wrong or be wronged by one another, even if some of them lack moral competence. I draw on recent work on directed duties to outline the structure of moral communities of persons. The upshot is that we can construct an inclusive theory of personhood that can accommodate nonhuman persons based on shared community membership. I argue that, once (...)
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  19. What If They Were Humans? Non-Ideal Theory in the Shelter.François Jaquet - 2023 - In Valéry Giroux, Angie Pepper & Kristin Voigt (eds.), The Ethics of Animal Shelters. New York, US: Oxford University Press.
    Our societies are marked by anthropocentrism: most people treat animals in ways in which they would by no means treat fellow humans. One might nonetheless expect this prejudice to be much less prevalent in animal shelters since these places are created for the very sake of non-humans and generally managed by people who truly care about animal welfare. This chapter questions this expectation. It discusses three practices that are widespread in animal shelters and yet could be suspected of anthropocentrism: killing (...)
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  20. Against Moorean Defences of Speciesism.François Jaquet - 2023 - In Hugo Viciana, Antonio Gaitán & Fernando Aguiar (eds.), Experiments in Moral and Political Philosophy. Routledge.
    Common sense has it that animals matter considerably less than humans; the welfare and suffering of a cow, a chicken or a fish are important but not as much as the welfare and suffering of a human being. Most animal ethicists reject this “speciesist” view as mere prejudice. In their opinion, there is no difference between humans and other animals that could justify such unequal consideration. In the opposite camp, advocates of speciesism have long tried to identify a difference that (...)
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  21. Nonhuman Animals and Epistemic Injustice.Andrew Lopez - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 25 (1).
    In this paper, I argue that nonhuman animals can be subject to epistemic injustice. I consider Miranda Fricker’s (2007) account of the nature of the harm of epistemic injustice and highlight that it requires that a knower be invested in being recognized as a knower. I argue that a focus on know-how, rather than testimony or concepts for self-understanding and communication, can serve to highlight how nonhuman animals can suffer epistemic injustice without an investment in recognition, by focusing on distributive (...)
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  22. Taking Into Account Sentient Non-Humans in AI Ambitious Value Learning: Sentientist Coherent Extrapolated Volition.Adrià Moret - 2023 - Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness 10 (02):309-334.
    Ambitious value learning proposals to solve the AI alignment problem and avoid catastrophic outcomes from a possible future misaligned artificial superintelligence (such as Coherent Extrapolated Volition [CEV]) have focused on ensuring that an artificial superintelligence (ASI) would try to do what humans would want it to do. However, present and future sentient non-humans, such as non-human animals and possible future digital minds could also be affected by the ASI’s behaviour in morally relevant ways. This paper puts forward Sentientist Coherent Extrapolated (...)
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  23. Disentangling Human Nature from Moral Status: Lessons for and from Philip K. Dick.James Okapal - 2023 - Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy 6.
    A common interpretation of Philip K. Dick’s texts _Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?_ and _We Can Build You_ is that they attempt to answer the question “What does it mean to be human?” -/- Unfortunately, these interpretations fail to deal with the fact that the term “human” has both metaphysical and moral connotations. Metaphysical meanings associated with theories of human nature and moral meanings associated with theories of moral status are thus blurred in the novels and in the literature (...)
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  24. Dignity Beyond the Human: A Deontic Account of the Moral Status of Animals.Matthew Wray Perry - 2023 - Dissertation, The University of Manchester
    Dignity is traditionally thought to apply to almost all and almost only humans. However, I argue that an account of a distinctly human dignity cannot achieve a coherent and non-arbitrary justification; either it must exclude some humans or include some nonhumans. This conclusion is not as worrying as might be first thought. Rather than attempting to vindicate human dignity, dignity should extend beyond the human, to include a range of nonhuman animals. Not only can we develop a widely inclusive account (...)
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  25. How to Explain the Importance of Persons.Christopher Register - 2023 - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    We commonly explain the distinctive prudential and moral status of persons in terms of our mental capacities. I draw from recent work to argue that the common explanation is incomplete. I then develop a new explanation: We are ethically important because we are the object of a pattern of self-concern. I argue that the view solves moral problems posed by permissive ontologies, such as the recent personite problem.
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  26. Non-Human Moral Status: Problems with Phenomenal Consciousness.Joshua Shepherd - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):148-157.
    Consciousness-based approaches to non-human moral status maintain that consciousness is necessary for (some degree or level of) moral status. While these approaches are intuitive to many, in this paper I argue that the judgment that consciousness is necessary for moral status is not secure enough to guide policy regarding non-humans, that policies responsive to the moral status of non-humans should take seriously the possibility that psychological features independent of consciousness are sufficient for moral status. Further, I illustrate some practical consequences (...)
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  27. A Kantian Approach to the Moral Considerability of Non-human Nature.Toby Svoboda - 2023 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 36 (4):1-16.
    A Kantian approach can establish that non-human natural entities are morally considerable and that humans have duties to them. This is surprising, because most environmental ethicists have either rejected or overlooked Kant when it comes to this issue. Inspired by an argument of Christine Korsgaard, I claim that both humans and non-humans have a natural good, which is whatever allows an entity to function well according to the kind of entity it is. I argue that humans are required to confer (...)
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  28. Materialism and the Moral Status of Animals.Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):795-815.
    Consciousness has an important role in ethics: when a being consciously experiences the frustration or satisfaction of its interests, those interests deserve higher moral priority than those of a behaviourally similar but non-conscious being. I consider the relationship between this ethical role and an a posteriori (or “type-B”) materialist solution to the mind-body problem. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that, if type-B materialism is correct, then the reference of the concept of phenomenal consciousness is radically indeterminate between a (...)
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  29. Pain in Pleocyemata, but not in Dendrobranchiata?Gary Comstock - 2022 - Animal Sentience 7.
    Crump et al.’s contribution to assessing whether decapods feel pain raises an important question: Is pain distributed unevenly across the order? The case for pain appears stronger in Pleocyemata than in Dendrobranchiata. Some studies report pain avoidance behaviors in Dendrobranchiata (Penaeidae) shrimp, but further studies are needed to determine whether the chemicals used are acting as analgesics to relieve pain, or as soporifics to reduce overall alertness. If the latter, the most farmed shrimp species may not require the same level (...)
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  30. A Brief in Support of Happy’s Appeal.Gary Comstock, Adam Lerner & Peter Singer - 2022 - Nonhuman Rights Project.
    We present ethical reasons that the court should grant the Nonhuman Rights Project’s (NhRP) request for habeas corpus relief for Happy, an elephant. Happy has a basic interest in not being confined, an interest that should be legally protected just as the human interest in not being confined is legally protected. Since the decision in The Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v Breheny failed to weigh Happy’s interests properly, we ask this body to correct the error.
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  31. Why the Court Should Free Happy.Gary Comstock, Adam Lerner & Peter Singer - 2022 - Inside Sources.
    Should the law recognize an elephant’s right to be released from solitary confinement? The New York State Court of Appeals—the highest court in the State of New York—will consider this question on May 18. At issue is an Asian elephant named Happy. But happy she is not. Every human being has a right to bodily liberty because they have strong interests that this right protects. Since Happy has the same strong interests, the Court should recognize Happy’s right to be freed (...)
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  32. Resisting Moral Conservatism with Difficulties of Reality: a Wittgensteinian-Diamondian Approach to Animal Ethics.Konstantin Deininger, Andreas Aigner & Herwig Grimm - 2022 - Journal of Value Inquiry 57.
    In this paper, we tackle the widely held view that practice-oriented approaches to ethics are conservative, preserving the moral status quo, and, in particular, that they do not promote any change in our dealings with animals or formulate clear principles that help us to achieve such change. We shall challenge this view with reference to Wittgensteinian ethics. As a first step, we show that moral thought and action rest on basic moral certainties like: equals are to be treated equally and (...)
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  33. Is Daniel a Monster? Reflections on Daniel A. Bell and Wang Pei’s "Subordination Without Cruelty" Thesis.Rainer Ebert, Valéry Giroux, Angie Pepper & Kristin Voigt - 2022 - Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 17 (1-2):31-45.
    Daniel Bell and Wang Pei’s recent monograph, Just Hierarchy, seeks to defend hierarchical relationships against more egalitarian alternatives. This paper addresses their argument, offered in one chapter of the book, in favour of a hierarchical relationship between human and nonhuman animals. This relationship, Bell and Pei argue, should conform to what they call “subordination without cruelty:” it is permissible to subordinate and exploit animals for human ends, provided that we do not treat them cruelly. We focus on three aspects of (...)
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  34. Review of How to Count Animals, more or less. [REVIEW]Benjamin Elmore - 2022 - Between the Species 25 (1):111-118.
    In How to Count Animals, more or less, Shelly Kagan sketches and argues for a hierarchical account of moral status. Although the book is fairly lengthy at 304 pages of text, Kagan is correct in calling it a sketch, since what this book provides us with is a foray into one aspect that a comprehensive ethical theory must include, in his view, if it is to be plausible. Even so, the work that he does, if one accepts hierarchy, opens up (...)
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  35. What’s Wrong with Speciesism.François Jaquet - 2022 - Journal of Value Inquiry 56 (3):395-408.
    The prevalent view in animal ethics is that speciesism is wrong: we should weigh the interests of humans and non-humans equally. Shelly Kagan has recently questioned this claim, defending speciesism against Peter Singer’s seminal argument based on the principle of equal consideration of interests. This critique is most charitably construed as a dilemma. The principle of equal consideration can be interpreted in either of two ways. While it faces counterexamples on the first reading, it makes Singer’s argument question-begging on the (...)
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  36. Speciesism and tribalism: Embarrassing origins.François Jaquet - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):933-954.
    Animal ethicists have been debating the morality of speciesism for over forty years. Despite rather persuasive arguments against this form of discrimination, many philosophers continue to assign humans a higher moral status than nonhuman animals. The primary source of evidence for this position is our intuition that humans’ interests matter more than the similar interests of other animals. And it must be acknowledged that this intuition is both powerful and widespread. But should we trust it for all that? The present (...)
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  37. Are the folk utilitarian about animals?Guy Kahane & Lucius Caviola - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1081-1103.
    Robert Nozick famously raised the possibility that there is a sense in which both deontology and utilitarianism are true: deontology applies to humans while utilitarianism applies to animals. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in such a hybrid views of ethics. Discussions of this Nozickian Hybrid View, and similar approaches to animal ethics, often assume that such an approach reflects the commonsense view, and best captures common moral intuitions. However, recent psychological work challenges this empirical assumption. We review (...)
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  38. Ethics Without Sentience: Facing Up to the Probable Insignificance of Phenomenal Consciousness.François Kammerer - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):180-204.
    Phenomenal consciousness appears to be particularly normatively significant. For this reason, sentience-based conceptions of ethics are widespread. In the field of animal ethics, knowing which animals are sentient appears to be essential to decide the moral status of these animals. I argue that, given that materialism is true of the mind, phenomenal consciousness is probably not particularly normatively significant. We should face up to this probable insignificance of phenomenal consciousness and move towards an ethic without sentience.
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  39. Speciesism and Sentientism.Andrew Y. Lee - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):205-228.
    Many philosophers accept both of the following claims: (1) consciousness matters morally, and (2) species membership doesn’t matter morally. In other words, many reject speciesism but accept what we might call 'sentientism'. But do the reasons against speciesism yield analogous reasons against sentientism, just as the reasons against racism and sexism are thought to yield analogous reasons against speciesism? This paper argues that speciesism is disanalogous to sentientism (as well as racism and sexism). I make a case for the following (...)
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  40. A Relational Moral Theory: African Ethics in and Beyond the Continent.Thaddeus Metz - 2022 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    _A Relational Moral Theory_ draws on neglected resources from the Global South and especially the African philosophical tradition to provide a new answer to a perennial philosophical question: what do all morally right actions have in common as distinct from wrong ones? Metz points out that the principles of utility and of respect for autonomy, the two rivals that have dominated Western moral theory for the last two centuries, share an individualist premise. Once that common assumption is replaced by a (...)
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  41. Korsgaard's Duties towards Animals: Two Difficulties.Nico Dario Müller - 2022 - Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism 1 (10):9-25.
    Building on her previous work (2004, 2012, 2013), Christine Korsgaard’s recent book Fellow Creatures (2018) has provided the most highly developed Kantian account of duties towards animals. I raise two issues with the results of this account. First, the duties that Korsgaard accounts for are duties “towards” animals in name only. Since Korsgaard does not reject the Kantian conception in which direct duties towards others require mutual moral constraint, what she calls duties “towards” animals are merely Kantian duties regarding animals, (...)
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  42. Kantianism for Animals.Nico Dario Müller - 2022 - New York City, New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan.
    This open access book revises Kant’s ethical thought in one of its most notorious respects: its exclusion of animals from moral consideration. The book gives readers in animal ethics an accessible introduction to Kant’s views on our duties to others, and his view that we have only ‘indirect’ duties regarding animals. It then investigates how one would have to depart from Kant in order to recognise that animals matter morally for their own sake. Particular attention is paid to Kant’s ‘Formula (...)
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  43. The hard limit on human nonanthropocentrism.Michael R. Scheessele - 2022 - AI and Society 37 (1):49-65.
    There may be a limit on our capacity to suppress anthropocentric tendencies toward non-human others. Normally, we do not reach this limit in our dealings with animals, the environment, etc. Thus, continued striving to overcome anthropocentrism when confronted with these non-human others may be justified. Anticipation of super artificial intelligence may force us to face this limit, denying us the ability to free ourselves completely of anthropocentrism. This could be for our own good.
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  44. Animals as Stakeholders.Joshua Smart - 2022 - In Natalie Thomas (ed.), Animals and Business Ethics. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Animals have moral status, and we have corresponding obligations to take their interests into account. I argue that Stakeholder Theory provides a moderate, yet principled way for businesses to do so. Animals ought to be treated as stakeholders given that they affect and are affected by the achievement of the objectives of the businesses in which they are involved. Stakeholder Theory therefore requires taking those interests into account. It does not, however, require that they be given the same weight as (...)
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  45. An Argument Against Treating Non-Human Animal Bodies as Commodities.Marc G. Wilcox - 2022 - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-13.
    Some animal defenders are committed to complete abstinence from animal products. However the strongest arguments for adopting veganism only seem to require that one avoid using animal products, where use or procurement of these products will harm sentient animals. As such, there is seemingly a gap between our intuition and our argument. In this article I attempt to defend the more comprehensive claim that we have a moral reason to avoid using animal products, regardless of the method of procurement. I (...)
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  46. Unitarianism or Hierarchical Approach for Moral Status? A Very Subtle Difference.Francesco Allegri - 2021 - Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism 9 (1-2):91-107.
    The article is inspired by Shelly Kagan’s recent book “How to Count Animals”, which focuses on the alternative between a unitarian and a hierarchical conception of the moral status of beings in the animal ethics debate. The paper finds a way of compromise between the two perspectives in the principle of equal consideration of interests, but above all it lessens the role of such opposition – especially its practical relevance – by emphasizing that, regardless of the fact of conceiving moral (...)
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  47. The Philosophers' Brief in Support of Happy's Appeal.Gary Comstock, Sue Donaldson, Andrew Fenton, Tyler M. John, L. Syd M. Johnson, Robert C. Jones, Will Kymlicka, Letitia M. Meynell, Nathan Nobis, David M. Peña-Guzmán, James Rocha, Bernard Rollin, Jeff Sebo & Adam Shriver - 2021 - New York State Appellate Court.
    We submit this brief in support of the Nonhuman Rights Project’s efforts to secure habeas corpus relief for the elephant named Happy. The Supreme Court, Bronx County, declined to grant habeas corpus relief and order Happy’s transfer to an elephant sanctuary, relying, in part, on previous decisions that denied habeas relief for the NhRP’s chimpanzee clients, Kiko and Tommy. Those decisions use incompatible conceptions of ‘person’ which, when properly understood, are either philosophically inadequate or, in fact, compatible with Happy’s personhood.
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  48. What Matters for Moral Status: Behavioral or Cognitive Equivalence?John Danaher - 2021 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30 (3):472-478.
    Henry Shevlin’s paper—“How could we know when a robot was a moral patient?” – argues that we should recognize robots and artificial intelligence (AI) as psychological moral patients if they are cognitively equivalent to other beings that we already recognize as psychological moral patients (i.e., humans and, at least some, animals). In defending this cognitive equivalence strategy, Shevlin draws inspiration from the “behavioral equivalence” strategy that I have defended in previous work but argues that it is flawed in crucial respects. (...)
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  49. A Critique of Scanlon on the Scope of Morality.Benjamin Elmore - 2021 - Between the Species 24 (1):145-165.
    In this essay, I argue that contractualism, even when it is actually used to construe our moral duties towards non-human animals, does not do so naturally. We can infer from our experiences with companion animals that we owe moral duties to them because of special relationships we are in with them. We can further abstract that we owe general moral duties to non-human animals because they are the kinds of beings that we can have relationships with, and because of the (...)
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  50. The Psychological Speciesism of Humanism.Carrie Figdor - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178:1545-1569.
    Humanists argue for assigning the highest moral status to all humans over any non-humans directly or indirectly on the basis of uniquely superior human cognitive abilities. They may also claim that humanism is the strongest position from which to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of within-species discrimination. I argue that changing conceptual foundations in comparative research and discoveries of advanced cognition in many non-human species reveal humanism’s psychological speciesism and its similarity with common justifications of within-species discrimination.
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