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Nicolas Delon
New College of Florida
  1. The Replaceability Argument in the Ethics of Animal Husbandry.Nicolas Delon - 2016 - Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics.
    Most people agree that inflicting unnecessary suffering upon animals is wrong. Many fewer people, including among ethicists, agree that painlessly killing animals is necessarily wrong. The most commonly cited reason is that death (without pain, fear, distress) is not bad for them in a way that matters morally, or not as significantly as it does for persons, who are self-conscious, make long-term plans and have preferences about their own future. Animals, at least those that are not persons, lack a morally (...)
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  2. Social Norms and Farm Animal Protection.Nicolas Delon - 2018 - Palgrave Communications 4:1-6.
    Social change is slow and difficult. Social change for animals is formidably slow and difficult. Advocates and scholars alike have long tried to change attitudes and convince the public that eating animals is wrong. The topic of norms and social change for animals has been neglected, which explains in part the relative failure of the animal protection movement to secure robust support reflected in social and legal norms. Moreover, animal ethics has suffered from a disproportionate focus on individual attitudes and (...)
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  3. Against Moral Intrinsicalism.Nicolas Delon - 2015 - In Elisa Aaltola & John Hadley (eds.), Animal Ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy. London: Rowman and Littlefield International. pp. 31-45.
    This paper challenges a widespread, if tacit, assumption of animal ethics, namely, that the only properties of entities that matter to their moral status are intrinsic, cross‐specific properties—typically psychological capacities. According to moral individualism (Rachels 1990; McMahan 2002; 2005), the moral status of an individual, and how to treat him or her, should only be a function of his or her individual properties. I focus on the fundamental assumption of moral individualism, which I call intrinsicalism. On the challenged view, pigs, (...)
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  4. Un Singer peut-il en remplacer un autre ?Nicolas Delon - 2016 - Klesis 32:150-190.
    In the third edition of ‘Practical Ethics’ (2011), Peter Singer reexamines the so-called “replaceability argument,” according to which merely sentient beings, as opposed to persons (self-conscious and with a robust sense of time), are replaceable—it is in principle permissible to kill them provided that they live pleasant lives that they would not have had otherwise and that they be replaced by equally happy beings. On this view, existence is a benefit and death is not a harm. Singer’s challenge is to (...)
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  5.  80
    Beyond the Personhood Paradigm.Nicolas Delon - 2019 - ASEBL Journal 14 (1):26-30.
    Commentary on Shawn Thompson's "Supporting Ape Rights". My response to Wise’s and Thompson’s strategy is two-fold: 1) personhood is neither strictly deter-mined by cognitive facts nor fruitfully construed in Kantian terms, and 2) personhood is not what matters when it comes to animal protection. To conclude, 3) I hint at an alternative, or complementary, avenue for change.
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  6.  70
    Commentary: Setting the Bar Higher.Nicolas Delon - 2019 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 28 (1):40-45.
    Commentary on Neuhaus and Parent, 'Gene doping--In Animals?' (2019).
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  7.  36
    Consider the Agent in the Arthropod.Nicolas Delon, Peter Cook, Gordon Bauer & Heidi Harley - 2020 - Animal Sentience 29 (32).
    —Commentary on Mikhalevich and Powell on invertebrate minds.— Whether or not arthropods are sentient, they can have moral standing. Appeals to sentience are not necessary and retard progress in human treatment of other species, including invertebrates. Other increasingly well-documented aspects of invertebrate minds are pertinent to their welfare. Even if arthropods are not sentient, they can be agents whose goals—and therefore interests—can be frustrated. This kind of agency is sufficient for moral status and requires that we consider their welfare.
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  8. Handicap et animaux.Nicolas Delon - 2012 - In Sandra Laugier (ed.), Tous vulnérables ? Le care, les animaux et l'environnement. Payot-Rivages. pp. 99-121.
    This paper addresses issues in comparing nonhuman animals and severely disabled human beings in terms of their morally relevant characteristics. Through a discussion of the works of Jeff McMahan, Eva Feder Kittay and Martha Nussbaum, the paper offers a defense of the importance and possibility of extending care and compassion to nonhumans without collapsing relevant species differences.
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  9.  59
    Le problème de la souffrance chez Nietzsche et Parfit.Nicolas Delon - 2019 - Klesis 43:156-186.
    Dans On What Matters Parfit défénd un objectivisme moral sur lequel il espère que les philosophes finiront par converger. Au cœur de cet espoir sont des vérités normatives irréductibles telles que l’affirmation que la souffrance est intrinsèquement mauvaise. Parfit se demande si Nietzsche menace son édifice et lui consacre un chapitre entier chapeautant la discussion du désaccord moral et de la convergence, et conclut que Nietzsche soit n’est pas en vrai désaccord, soit ne raisonne pas dans des conditions satisfaisantes. Je (...)
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  10. Pervasive Captivity and Urban Wildlife.Nicolas Delon - forthcoming - Ethics, Policy and Environment:1-21.
    Urban animals can benefit from living in cities, but this also makes them vulnerable as they increasingly depend on the advantages of urban life. This article has two aims. First, I provide a detailed analysis of the concept of captivity and explain why it matters to nonhuman animals—because and insofar as many of them have a (non-substitutable) interest in freedom. Second, I defend a surprising implication of the account—pushing the boundaries of the concept while the boundaries of cities and human (...)
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  11. Pour une éthique animale descriptive.Nicolas Delon - 2013 - Klesis 27:118-154.
    This article outlines a “descriptive animal ethics” based on the study of people’s intuitions about particular cases, in order to determine which moral theories best comport with those intuitions. I suggest that the latter need not be unreliable since they may be endorsed as considered judgments, and that even if they were, knowing them would still provide relevant information for a complete moral theory concerned with what moral agents can do. I describe a survey in descriptive ethics, discuss the results, (...)
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  12.  74
    The Meaning of Animal Labour.Nicolas Delon - 2020 - In Charlotte Blattner, Kendra Coulter & Will Kymlicka (eds.), Animal Labour: A New Frontier of Interspecies Justice? Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 160-180.
    Proponents of humane or traditional husbandry, in contrast to factory farming, often argue that maintaining meaningful relationships with animals entails working with them. Accordingly, they argue that animal liberation is misguided, since it appears to entail erasing our relationships to animals and depriving both us and them of valuable opportunities to live together. This chapter offers a critical examination of defense of animal husbandry based on the value of labour, in particular the view that farm animals could be seen as (...)
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  13.  76
    The Meaning of Killing. [REVIEW]Nicolas Delon - 2018 - Books and Ideas 2018.
    Why do we consider killing and letting someone die to be two different things? Why do we believe that a doctor who refuses to treat a terminally ill patient is doing anything less than administering a lethal substance? After all, the consequences are the same, and perhaps the moral status of these acts should be judged accordingly. -/- Reviewed: Jonathan Glover, Questions de vie ou de mort (Causing Death and Saving Lives), translated into French and introduced by Benoît Basse, Genève, (...)
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  14.  78
    Une théorie morale peut-elle être cognitivement trop exigeante?Nicolas Delon - 2015 - Implications Philosophiques.
    Starting from the typical case of utilitarianism, I distinguish three ways a moral theory may be deemed (over-)demanding: practical, epistemic, and cognitive. I focus on the latter, whose specific nature has been overlooked. Taking animal ethics as a case study, I argue that knowledge of human cognition is critical to spelling out moral theories (including their implications) that are accessible and acceptable to the greatest number of agents. In a nutshell: knowing more about our cognitive apparatus with a view to (...)
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  15. Valuing Humane Lives in Two-Level Utilitarianism.Nicolas Delon - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (3):276-293.
    I examine the two-level utilitarian case for humane animal agriculture (by R. M. Hare and Gary Varner) and argue that it fails on its own terms. The case states that, at the ‘intuitive level’ of moral thinking, we can justify raising and killing animals for food, regarding them as replaceable, while treating them with respect. I show that two-level utilitarianism supports, instead, alternatives to animal agriculture. First, the case for humane animal agriculture does not follow from a commitment to two-level (...)
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