Re-framing the debate over animal morality

EurSafe Newsletter 22 (1):3-6 (2020)
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Is morality uniquely human or does morality exist in at least some non-human animals? Are animals full-fledged moral creatures or do they merely exhibit proto-morality—evolutionary building blocks or precursors to morality, but not quite the genuine article? Such questions, prompted by remarkable advances in empirical research into the social and emotional lives of non-human animals, have aroused much recent interest amongst scientists, philosophers, and in the popular media, not least for their apparent bearing on questions of human uniqueness, evolution, and the ethical status of animals. The debate over animal morality has produced many valuable contributions and stimulated new areas for empirical and theoretical research. However, focusing on these questions has led researchers to talk at cross-purposes and down some unproductive paths. The problem concerns the terms ‘morality’ and ‘moral’.
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