Empathy and animal ethics
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Dale Jamieson (ed.), Singer and His Critics. Oxford (1998)
In responding to the challenge that we cannot know that animals feel pain, Peter Singer says: We can never directly experience the pain of another being, whether that being is human or not. When I see my daughter fall and scrape her knee, I know that she feels pain because of the way she behaves—she cries, she tells me her knee hurts, she rubs the sore spot, and so on. I know that I myself behave in a somewhat similar—if more inhibited—way when I feel pain, and so I accept that my daughter feels something like what I feel when I scrape my knee. The basis of my belief that animals can feel pain is similar...1 . Singer here suggests that the epistemological problem facing animal ethics is really the more general problem of other minds: the Cartesian problem of how to escape solipsism, how to cross the bridge from my own thoughts and feelings to the thoughts and feelings of any other being. The suggestion is that no-one can seriously be in the thrall of this sceptical problem. The method for building the bridge to other minds is familiar to us all: we use it every day in our ascriptions of thoughts and feelings to people near and dear, and to those far away. And we use it every day in our ascriptions of thoughts and feelings to animals.
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L. A. Paul (2015). Transformative Experience: Replies to Pettigrew, Barnes and Campbell. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):794-813.
Elisa Aaltola (2013). Skepticism, Empathy, and Animal Suffering. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10 (4):457-467.
Adam Shriver (2006). Minding Mammals. Philosophical Psychology 19 (4):433-442.
Sarah Richmond (2004). Being in Others: Empathy From a Psychoanalytical Perspective. European Journal of Philosophy 12 (2):244–264.
John Hadley (2007). Critique of Callicott's Biosocial Moral Theory. Ethics and the Environment 12 (1):67-78.
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