Abū Bakr al-Rāzī on Animals

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Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (d. 925), a doctor known not only for his medical expertise but also for his notorious philosophical ideas, has not yet been given due credit for his ideas on the ethical treatment of animals. This paper explores the philosophical and theological background of his remarks on animal welfare, arguing that al-Rāzī did not (as has been claimed) see animals as possessing rational, intellectual souls like those of humans. It is also argued that al-Rāzī probably did not, as is usually believed, endorse human-animal transmigration. His ethical stance does not in any case depend on shared characteristics of humans and animals, but rather on the need to imitate God’s providence and mercy
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