Animal Rights: A Non‐Consequentialist Approach

In K. Petrus & M. Wild (eds.), Animal Minds and Animal Ethics. Transcript (2013)
Abstract
It is a curious fact about mainstream discussions of animal rights that they are dominated by consequentialist defenses thereof, when consequentialism in general has been on the wane in other areas of moral philosophy. In this paper, I describe an alternative, non‐consequentialist ethical framework (combining Kantian and virtue‐ethical elements) and argue that it grants (conscious) animals more expansive rights than consequentialist proponents of animal rights typically grant. The cornerstone of this non‐consequentialist framework is the thought that the virtuous agent is s/he who has the stable and dominating disposition to treat all conscious animals, including non‐human conscious animals, as ends and not mere means.
Keywords animal rights  kantian ethics  virtue ethics  animal consciousness
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