Hume on Animals and the Rest of Nature

In John Hadley & Elisa Aaltola (eds.), Animal Ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy. Rowman and Littlefield International (2014)
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This paper develops a Humean environmental meta-ethic to apply to the animal world and, given some further considerations, to the rest of nature. Our interpretation extends Hume’s account of sympathy, our natural ability to sympathize with the emotions of others, so that we may sympathize not only with human beings but also animals, plants and ecosystems as well. Further, we suggest that Hume has the resources for an account of environmental value that applies to non-human animals, non-sentient elements of nature as well as nature as whole even without the appeal to sympathy. One consequence of this approach is that the reasons for promoting animal welfare need not be restricted to sentientist reasons.
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