Comparing Lives and Epistemic Limitations: A Critique of Regan's Lifeboat from An Unprivileged Position

Ethics and the Environment 20 (1):1-21 (2015)
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In The Case for Animal Rights, Tom Regan argues that although all subjects-of-a-life have equal inherent value, there are often differences in the value of lives. According to Regan, lives that have the highest value are lives which have more possible sources of satisfaction. Regan claims that the highest source of satisfaction, which is available to only rational beings, is the satisfaction associated with thinking impartially about moral choices. Since rational beings can bring impartial reasons to bear on decision making, Regan maintains that they have an additional possible source of satisfaction that nonrational beings do not have and, consequently, the lives of rational beings turn out to have greater value..

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Cheryl (C.E.) Abbate
University of Nevada, Las Vegas


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