Animals, Misanthropy, and Humanity

Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (1):66 (2020)
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David. E. Cooper’s claim in Animals and Misanthropy is that honest reflection on the ways human beings treat and compare with animals encourages a dark, misanthropic judgment on humankind. Treatment of animals manifests a range of vices and failings that are ubiquitous and entrenched in our practices, institutions, and forms of life, organized by Cooper into five clusters. Moreover, comparisons of humans and animals reveals both affinities and similarities, including a crucial difference that animals are capable of virtues while being vice-free, whereas humans are both virtuous and vicious. Various familiar ways of thinking morally and scientifically about animal life are criticized for being overly abstract, occluding richer ways of engaging with animals that are better able to disclose the fundamental wrong of their treatment by humans. The book offers a concise, lucid challenge to mainstream ways of thinking morally about animals and to comfortably optimistic estimations of the moral performance of humankind.
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