Personhood and Animals

Environmental Ethics 30 (2):175-193 (2008)
Abstract
A common Western assumption is that animals cannot be persons. Even in animal ethics, the concept of personhood is often avoided. At the same time, many in cognitive ethology argue that animals do have minds, and that animal ethics presents convincing arguments supporting the individual value of animals. Although “animal personhood” may seem to be an absurd notion, more attention needs to placed on the reasons why animals can or cannot be included in the category of persons. Of three different approaches to personhood—the perfectionist approach, the humanistic approach, and the interactive approach—the third approach is the strongest. Personhood defined via interaction opens new doors for animal ethics
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