Noble Animals, Brutish Animals

Between the Species 24 (1):70-92 (2021)
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Abstract

The paper begins with a description of a grey seal performing conspecific infanticide. The paper then gives an account of “nobleness” and “brutishness.” Roughly, a behavioural-disposition is noble/brutish if it is one that would be a moral virtue/vice if the possessor of the behavioural-disposition were a moral agent. The paper then advances two pairs of axiological claims. The first pair of claims is that nobleness is good and that brutishness is bad. The second pair of claims is about an axiological interaction between nobleness/brutishness and well-being. That any non-human animal lacks well-being is bad. Yet, it is worse that a noble non-human animal lacks well-being, and not so bad that a brutish non-human animal lacks well-being. Lastly, the paper discusses some potential moral implications of these axiological claims, for instance that factory farming is especially wrong because it causes noble non-human animals to lack well-being.

Author's Profile

Marcus Hunt
Concordia University Chicago

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