Tactful animals: How the study of touch can inform the animal morality debate

Philosophical Psychology 34 (1):1-27 (2021)
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In this paper, we argue that scientists working on the animal morality debate have been operating with a narrow view of morality that prematurely limits the variety of moral practices that animals may be capable of. We show how this bias can be partially corrected by paying more attention to the touch behaviours of animals. We argue that a careful examination of the ways in which animals engage in and navigate touch interactions can shed new light on current debates on animal morality, like the study of consolation behaviour, while also revealing further forms that animal morality may take and that have been neglected so far, like capacities of tolerance or trust. This defence is structured as an analysis of the three main functions of touch: the discriminative function, the affiliative function, and the vigilance function.

Author Profiles

Susana Monsó
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia
Birte Wrage
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna


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