Nonhuman Animals: Not Necessarily Saints or Sinners

Between the Species 17 (1):1-30 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Higher-order thought theories maintain that consciousness involves the having of higher-order thoughts about mental states. In response to these theories of consciousness, an attempt is often made to illustrate that nonhuman animals possess said consciousness, overlooking an alarming consequence: attributing higher-order thought to nonhuman animals might entail that they should be held morally accountable for their actions. I argue that moral responsibility requires more than higher-order thought: moral agency requires a specific higher-order thought which concerns a belief about the rightness or wrongness of affecting another’s mental states. This “moral thought” about the rightness or wrongness is not yet demonstrated in even the most intelligent nonhuman animals, thus we should suspend our judgments about the “rightness” or “wrongness” of their actions while further questioning the recent insistence on developing an animal morality.
Categories
PhilPapers/Archive ID
ABBNAN-2
Revision history
Archival date: 2014-07-08
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
The Varieties of Reference.Antony, Louise M.; Evans, Gareth & McDowell, John

View all 41 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2014-07-08

Total views
386 ( #8,137 of 42,120 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
55 ( #11,336 of 42,120 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.