Metaphysics, physicalism, and animal rights

Inquiry 22 (1-4):101 – 143 (1979)
Abstract
As ethical attitudinists say, ethical statements cannot be strictly true or false, since they express wishes or attitudes, not beliefs. However, the wishes expressed by basic moral judgments about human rights are such that it is a necessary truth that those who know what human beings are have them, and those who do not acknowledge these rights show their lack of a living sense of human reality. The same goes for basic judgments about the rights of animals, and it is blindness about the ontology of animal reality which lies behind the cruelty to animals inherent in vivisection and factory farming. One current source of this blindness may be the physicalist metaphysics which is typical of our day, and which should be sharply distinguished from metaphysical naturalism.
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