``Würde der kreatur'' and the common morality

If respect for the dignity ofnon-human creatures is to be an element of publicpolicy it needs, as a first step, to be assimilatedinto the common morality. It is suggested that suchrespect may be based on several philosophicalpremises. Limiting the discussion to sentient animals,the paper reviews three of these: the concept ofanimal telos; the application of Rawlsiancontractarianism to the case of non-human animals asmoral patients; and human attitudes to animals in thelight of virtue theory. Consideration is then given tothe extent to which, by accommodating respect for thedignity of animals within the common morality, theseprinciples might find more substantive expression inpublic policy.
Keywords contractarianism  dignity  telos  transgenic animals  virtue theory
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