Contested moralities: Animals and moral value in the dear/symanski debate

Philosophy and Geography 1 (2):223 – 242 (1998)
Abstract
Geography is experiencing a 'moral turn' in its research interests and practices. There is also a flourishing interest in animal geographies that intersects this turn, and is concurrent with wider scholarly efforts to reincorporate animals and nature” into our ethical and social theories. This article intervenes in a dispute between Michael Dear and Richard Symanski. The dispute is over the culling of wild horses in Australia, and I intervene to explore how geography deepens our moral understanding of the animallhuman dialectic. I begin by situating the inquiry into ethics and animals in geography. Next, I provide a synopsis of Dear and Symanski's comments on 'animal rights', followed in 'turn by discussions of moral value and value paradigms. I then introduce a value paradigm termed geocentrism as a geographical account of our moral relations to animals. Finally, I discuss the wider significance of this debate for geographical ethics, moral philosophy and social theory.
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