Our goal in this paper is to provide enough of an account of the origins of cognitive ethology and the controversy surrounding it to help ethicists to gauge for themselves how to balance skepticism and credulity about animal minds when communicating with scientists. We believe that ethicists’ arguments would benefit from better understanding of the historical roots of ongoing controversies. It is not appropriate to treat some widely reported results in animal cognition as if their interpretations are a matter (...) of scientific consensus. It is especially important to understand why loose references to “cognitive ethology” by philosophers can signal ignorance of the field to scientists who are more deeply immersed in the relevant literature. Understanding the variety of approaches to cognitive phenomena in animals is essential if such capacities are to form the foundation of scientifically-informed ethical reasoning about animals. (shrink)
F. J. J.Buytendijk died on October 21st 1974 at the age of 87. His important contribution to the study of animal behaviour is analyzed here in relation to the historical development of animal psychology and ethology. The detailed study of his scientific production suggests, according to the authors, that some important findings, although largely not paid attention to in present-day literature, are akin to the conceptual and methodological evolution of comparative ethology.
In this essay I argue that the evolutionary and comparative study of nonhuman animal (hereafter animal) cognition in a wide range of taxa by cognitive ethologists can readily inform discussions about animal protection and animal rights. However, while it is clear that there is a link between animal cognitive abilities and animal pain and suffering, I agree with Jeremy Bentham who claimed long ago the real question does not deal with whether individuals can think or reason but rather with whether (...) or not individuals can suffer. One of my major goals will be to make the case that the time has come to expand. The Great Ape Project (GAP) to The Great Ape/Animal Project (GA/AP) and to take seriously the moral status and rights of all animals by presupposing that all individuals should be admitted into the Community of Equals. I also argue that individuals count and that it is essential to avoid being speciesist cognitivists; it really doesn't matter whether ‘dogs ape’ or whether ‘apes dog’ when taking into account the worlds of different individual animals. Narrow-minded primatocentrism and speciesism must be resisted in our studies of animal cognition and animal protection and rights. Line-drawing into ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ species is a misleading speciesist practice that should be vigorously resisted because not only is line-drawing bad biology but also because it can have disastrous consequences for how animals are viewed and treated. Speciesist line-drawing also ignores within species individual differences. (shrink)
It has been argued that if an animal is psychologically like us, there may be more scientific reason to experiment upon it, but less moral justification to do so. Some scientists deny the existence of this dilemma, claiming that although there are scientifically valuable similarities between humans and animals that make experimentation worthwhile, humans are at the same time unique and fundamentally different. This latter response is, ironically, typical of pre-Darwinian beliefs in the relationship between human and non-human animals. Another (...) irony is that debate about such issues has facilitated the participation once more of philosophers in questions concerning experimental psychology: ironic because laboratory-oriented psychologists, especially since the turn of the last century, had been eager to establish the independence of their subject from any influence of philosophy and its investigative methods, as well as from any kind of anthropomorphism.In Britain, certainly more so than in the United States, ethical constraints have prevented the development of psychological research with animals along certain routes. By the 1980s British professional and academic societies had published codes of conduct and guidelines for their members, in part responding to public concern about the welfare of animals in the psychological laboratory. What led to the establishment of these codes and guidelines? This paper analyses the historical background against which professional concern for ethical cost in experimental animal psychology began to take shape, leading to the societies' open pronouncements of the 1980s. (shrink)
Typically in the philosophical literature, kinds of minds are differentiated by the range of cognitive tasks animals accomplish as opposed to the means by which they accomplish the tasks. Drawing on progress in cognitive ethology (the study of animal cognition), I argue that such an approach provides bad directions for uncovering the mark of the human mind. If the goal is to determine what makes the human mind unique, philosophers should focus on the means by which animals interact with (...) objects in their environments, and not on the sorts of tasks they are able to accomplish. (shrink)
Obiettivo di questo intervento è indagare due soglie della soggettività: l’infanzia e l’animalità. Bambini e animali condividono il loro essere “assoggettati”: mentre l’adulto è soggetto tout court , il bambino lo deve ancora diventare e l’animale è trattato come polo opposto alla soggettività (oppure, ma non è molto diverso, come soggetto surrogato). Il punto di partenza è la domanda “che cosa è un bambino?”; apertamente socratica, questa domanda serve a incrinare i sedimenti di sapere depositatisi sul senso comune circa la (...) “vera natura” del soggetto. (shrink)
The standard behavioral index for human consciousness is the ability to report events with accuracy. While this method is routinely used for scientific and medical applications in humans, it is not easy to generalize to other species. Brain evidence may lend itself more easily to comparative testing. Human consciousness involves widespread, relatively fast low-amplitude interactions in the thalamocortical core of the brain, driven by current tasks and conditions. These features have also been found in other mammals, which suggests that consciousness (...) is a major biological adaptation in mammals. We suggest more than a dozen additional properties of human consciousness that may be used to test comparative predictions. Such homologies are necessarily more remote in non-mammals, which do not share the thalamocortical complex. However, as we learn more we may be able to make “deeper” predictions that apply to some birds, reptiles, large-brained invertebrates, and perhaps other species. (shrink)
The famous ethological maxim known as “Morgan’s Canon” continues to be the subject of interpretive controversy. I reconsider Morgan’s canon in light of two questions: First, what did Morgan intend? Second, is this, or perhaps some re-interpretation of the canon, useful within cognitive ethology? As for the first issue, Morgan’s distinction between higher and lower faculties is suggestive of an early supervenience concept. As for the second, both the canon in its original form, and various recent re-readings, offer nothing (...) useful to cognitive ethology. (shrink)
In the years leading up to the Second World War the ethologists Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen, created the tradition of rigorous, Darwinian research on animal behavior that developed into modern behavioral ecology. At first glance, research on specifically human behavior seems to exhibit greater discontinuity that research on animal behavior in general. The 'human ethology' of the 1960s appears to have been replaced in the early 1970s by a new approach called ‘sociobiology’. Sociobiology in its turn appears to (...) have been replaced by an approach calling itself Evolutionary Psychology. Closer examination, however, reveals a great deal of continuity between these schools. At present, whilst Evolutionary Psychology is the most visible form of evolutionary psychology, empirical and theoretical research on the evolution of mind and behavior is marked by a diversity of ideas and approaches and it is far from clear which direction(s) the field will take in future. (shrink)
Ethology brought some crucial insights and perspectives to the study of behavior, in particular the idea that behavior can be studied within a comparative-evolutionary framework by means of homologizing components of behavioral patterns and by causal analysis of behavior components and their integration. Early ethology is well-known for its extensive use of qualitative observations of animals under their natural conditions. These observations are combined with experiments that try to analyze behavioral patterns and establish specific claims about animal behavior. (...) Nowadays, there is still disagreement about the significance of observation and experiments and their relation. (shrink)
Jakob von Uexküll's theories of life -- Biography and historical background -- Nature's conformity with plan -- Umweltforschung -- Biosemiotics -- Concluding remarks -- Marking a path into the environments of animals -- The essential approach to the organism -- Heidegger and the biologists -- Paths to the world -- Disruptive behavior : Heidegger and the captivated animal -- The worldless stone -- The poor animal -- For example, three bees and a lark -- Animal morphology -- A shocking wealth (...) -- A fine line in the rupture of time -- An affected body -- The theme of the animal melody : Merleau-Ponty and the umwelt -- The structure of behavior -- A pure wake, a quiet force -- A leaf of being -- Interanimality -- The-animal-stalks-at-five-oclock : Deleuze's affection for Uexküll -- Problematic organisms -- Uexküll's ethology of affects -- The body without organs, the embryonic egg, and prebiotic soup -- Nature's refrain sung across milieus and territories -- The animal stalks. (shrink)
Since Krebs and Davies’s (1978) landmark publication, it is acknowledged that behavioural ecology owes much to the ethological tradition in the study of animal behaviour. Although this assumption seems to be right—many of the first behavioural ecologists were trained in departments where ethology developed and matured—it still to be properly assessed. In this paper, I undertake to identify the approaches used by ethologists that contributed to behavioural ecology’s constitution as a field of inquiry. It is my contention that the (...) current practices in behavioural biology owe ethology something much subtler than the simple transposition of Tinbergen’s Four Problems for heuristic purposes. Demonstrating what ethology inherited from the long naturalist tradition shows the tensions that strained the field and that later led to the loss of both its unity and its specificity. It also allows for a precise delineating of what behavioural ecology picked up from the ethological practice, and it helps to cast some light on the introduction of economical thinking in behavioural sciences. (shrink)
Classical ethology encourages a causal approach to animal behaviour, using Tinbergen's four questions concerning evolution, function, mechanism and development of behaviour. It sets aside the study of mental processes, which could otherwise help to unify our picture of the relationships between animal and environment. Here the steps in research focused on the psychological meaning of a peculiar behaviour in the mouse — carrying its tail — and what this implies regarding the mouse's cognitive world are given. Initial empirical observations (...) suggested epistemic choices concerning space and object notions in the mouse; this led us to go beyond the first stage in exploring the significance of this behaviour. Later experiments showed the limitations of an explanation based on a cause-effect relationship. An interpretative model integrating a phenomenological conceptual framework is proposed. (shrink)
One of the earliest issues in cognitive ethology concerned the meaning of animal signals. In the 1970s and 1980s this debate was most active with respect to the question of whether animal alarm calls convey information about the emotional states of animals or whether they “refer” directly to predators in the environment (Seyfarth, Cheney, & Marler 1980; see Radick 2007 for a historical account), but other areas, such as vocalizations about food and social contact, were also widely discussed. In (...) the 1990s, ethologists largely came to a consensus that such calls were “functionally referential” (Evans & Marler 1995) even if they did not satisfy all the semantic requirements imposed by philosophers of language. More recently, though, it has been argued that ethologists should eschew the concept of reference and return to a focus on the affective aspects of animal communication (Rendall & Owren 2002). We propose to take a new look at this debate in the light of recent developments in the philosophy of language under the heading of “Neo-Expressivism” (Bar-On 2004). This view provides two different senses.. (shrink)
What is the distribution of cognitive ability within the animal kingdom? It would be egalitarian to assume that variation in intelligence is everywhere clinal, but examining trends among major phylogenetic groups, it becomes easy to distinguish high-performing ‘generalists’ – whose behavior exhibits domain-flexibility – from ‘specialists’ whose range of behavior is limited and ecologically specific. These generalists include mammals, birds, and, intriguingly, cephalopods. The apparent intelligence of coleoid cephalopods (squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish) is surprising – and philosophically relevant – because (...) of our independent evolutionary lineages: the most recent common ancestor between vertebrates and cephalopods would have been a small wormlike organism, without any major organizational structure to its nervous system. By identifying the cognitive similarities between these organisms and vertebrates, we can begin to derive some general principles of intelligence as a biological phenomenon. Here, I discuss trends in cephalopod behavior and surrounding theory, and suggest their significance for our understanding of domain-general cognition and its evolution. (shrink)
Cognitive ethology is the comparative study of animal cognition from an evolutionary perspective. As a sub-discipline of biology it shares interest in questions concerning the immediate causes and development of behavior. As a part of ethology it is also concerned with questions about the function and evolution of behavior. I examine some recent work in cognitive ethology, and I argue that the notions of mental content and representation are important to enable researchers to answer questions and state (...) generalizations about the function and volution of behavior. (shrink)
In recent years both philosophers and scientists have been sceptical about the existence of animal minds. This is in distinction to Hume who claimed that '...no truth appears to me more evident, than that beasts are endow'd with thought and reason as well as men'. I argue that Hume is correct about the epistemological salience of our ordinary practices of ascribing mental states to animals. The reluctance of contemporary philosophers and scientists to embrace the view that animals have minds is (...) primarily a fact about their philosophy and science rather than a fact about animals. The recognition of this fact is the beginning of any serious effort to develop a science of cognitive ethology. (shrink)
Few areas of scientific investigation have spawned more alternative approaches than animal behavior: comparative psychology, ethology, behavioral ecology, sociobiology, behavioral endocrinology, behavioral neuroscience, neuroethology, behavioral genetics, cognitive ethology, developmental psychobiology—the list goes on. Add in the behavioral sciences focused on the human animal, and you can continue the list with ethnography, biological anthropology, political science, sociology, psychology (cognitive, social, developmental, evolutionary, etc.), and even that dismal science, economics. Clearly, no reasonable-length chapter can do justice to such a varied (...) collection. We have opted therefore to focus on three of these subdisciplines and to provide a somewhat historical tour of them, mentioning along the way the philosophical points that are of particular interest to us, but allowing the development of these points to be limited only by the imaginations of our readers. For readers seeking a more-traditional historical survey, see Dewsbury (1984a, b) and Burghardt (1985a). Our chosen brief is to write about comparative psychology, ethology, and cognitive ethology, although other approaches, especially neuroscience, will be mentioned where appropriate. These sciences are philosophically significant because they are enmeshed in ancient philosophical questions about the nature of mind and purposeful action and about the differences between humans and other animals. These sciences are also clustered because of their attention to mechanistic explanations of individual animal behavior as opposed to attempting to capture regularities at a population level, such as the game-theoretic strategic models popular among behavioral ecologists. (shrink)
The works, views and ideas of Heini Hediger (1908-1992), one of the most distinguished and influential zoologist of the 20th century, had and still have an enormous impact on contemporary understanding of animal behaviour. His views on territorial, social, etc. aspects of animal behaviour are based on semiotic concepts derived from Umwelt-theory (J. v. Uexküll) and combined with ideas from modern ethology. Hediger's special attention was devoted to the area of animal-man communications; he treated these problematic phenomena as a (...) system of semiosis-processes, in a mainly holistic way. Hediger's approach inspires the author to propose a notion "the need for impression" to be used in zoosemiotic analyses. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
A study of the problem of animal souls as treated by Pierre Bayle in his article on Rorarius in the Dictionnaire. Early modern philosophers, if they rejected dualism, tended—as Bayle shows—to be driven either to materialism or to panpsychism.
Often, the behavior of animals can be better explained and predicted, it seems, if we ascribe the capacity to have beliefs, intentions, and concepts to them. Whether we really can do so, however, is a debated issue. Particularly, Donald Davidson maintains that there is no basis in fact for ascribing propositional attitudes or concepts to animals. I will consider his and rival views, such as Colin Allen's three-part approach, for determining whether animals possess concepts. To avoid pure theoretical debate, however, (...) I will test these criteria using characteristic examples from ethology that depict a broad range of animal behavior. This will allow us to detect a series of gradations in animals' capacities, in the course of which we can think over what would count for or against an attribution of concepts and propositional attitudes to them in each single case. Self-conceit is our natural hereditary disease. Of all creatures man is the most wretched and fragile, and at once the most supercilious. ... It is by this conceit that man arrogates to himself ... divine properties, that he segregates himself from the mass of other creatures and raises himself above them .. (shrink)
This paper investigates whether, or not, the behavior of animals without speech can manifest beliefs and desires. Criteria for the attribution of such beliefs and desires are worked out with reference to Jonathan Bennett's theory of cognitive teleology: A particular ability for learning justifies attributing such beliefs and desires. The conceptual analysis is illustrated by examinations of cognitive ethology and considers higher-order intentionality. It is argued that the behavioral evidence only supports the attribution of first order beliefs and that (...) languageless animals therefore could not possess higher-order intentionality. They are only capable of forming simple, i.e., first-order beliefs about their environment. (shrink)
In this essay I consider various aspects of the rapidly growing field of cognitive ethology, concentrating mainly on evolutionary and comparative discussion of the notion of intentionality. I am not concerned with consciousness, per se, for a concentration on consciousness deflects attention from other, and in many cases more interesting, problems in the study of animal cognition. I consider how, when, where, and (attempt to discuss) why individuals from different taxa exchange social information concerning their beliefs, desires, and goals. (...) My main examples come from studies of social play in mammals and antipredator behavior in birds. Basically, I argue that although not all individuals always display behavior patterns that are best explained by appeals to intentionality, it is misleading to argue that such explanations have no place in the study of animal cognition. (shrink)
Paper presented at the Heidegger Circle 2011. Although Aristotle’s influence on young Heidegger’s thought has been studied at length, such studies have almost exclusively focused on his interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics, physics and metaphysics. I will rather address Heidegger’s appropriation of Aristotle’s ontology of life. Focusing on recently published or recently translated courses of the mid 20’s (mainly SS 1924, WS 1925-26 and SS 1926), I hope to uncover an important aspect of young Heidegger’s thought left unconsidered: namely, that Dasein’s (...) existential structures – Befindlichkeit, Understanding and being-with-one-another through language – arose from his close reading of Aristotle’s ontology of life, of animal life. (shrink)
According to higher-order thought accounts of phenomenal consciousness it is unlikely that many non-human animals undergo phenomenally conscious experiences. Many people believe that this result would have deep and far-reaching consequences. More specifically, they believe that the absence of phenomenal consciousness from the rest of the animal kingdom must mark a radical and theoretically significant divide between ourselves and other animals, with important implications for comparative psychology. I shall argue that this belief is mistaken. Since phenomenal consciousness might be almost (...) epiphenomenal in its functioning within human cognition, its absence in animals may signify only relatively trivial differences in cognitive architecture. Our temptation to think otherwise arises partly as a side-effect of imaginative identification with animal experiences, and partly from mistaken beliefs concerning the aspects of common-sense psychology that carry the main explanatory burden, whether applied to humans or to non-human animals. (shrink)
In this paper we1 assess the potential for research on nonhuman animals to address questions about the phenomenology of painful experiences. Nociception, the basic capacity for sensing noxious stimuli, is widespread in the animal kingdom. Even rel- atively primitive animals such as leeches and sea slugs possess nociceptors, neurons that are functionally specialized for sensing noxious stimuli (Walters 1996). Vertebrate spinal cords play a sophisticated role in processing and modulating nociceptive signals, providing direct control of some motor responses to noxious (...) stimuli, and a basic capacity for Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning (Grau et al. 1990; Grau 2002). Higher brain systems provide additional layers of association, top-down control, and cognition. In humans, at least, these higher brain systems also give rise to the conscious experiences that are characteristic of pain. What can be said about the experiences of other animals who possess nervous systems that are similar but not identical to humans? (shrink)
Do non-human animals have rights? The answer to this question depends on whether animals have morally relevant mental properties. Mindreading is the human activity of ascribing mental states to other organisms. Current knowledge about the evolution and cognitive structure of mindreading indicates that human ascriptions of mental states to non-human animals are very inaccurate. The accuracy of human mindreading can be improved with the help of scientific studies of animal minds. But the scientific studies by themselves do not by themselves (...) solve the problem of how to map psychological similarities (and differences) between humans and animals onto a distinction between morally relevant and morally irrelevant mental properties. The current limitations of human mindreading – whether scientifically aided or not – have practical consequences for the rational justification of claims about which rights (if any) non-human animals should be accorded. (shrink)
This volume provides a general overview of the basic ethical and philosophical issues of animal rights. It asks questions such as: Do animals have moral rights? If so, what does this mean? What sorts of mental lives do animals have, and how should we understand welfare? By presenting models for understanding animals' moral status and rights, and examining their mental lives and welfare, David DeGrazia explores the implications for how we should treat animals in connection with our diet, zoos, and (...) research. Animal Rights distinguishes itself by combining intellectual rigor with accessibility, offering a distinct moral voice with a non-polemical tone. (shrink)
Zoos and animal rights seem utterly opposed to each other. In this controversial and timely book, Stephen Bostock argues that they can develop a more harmonious relationship. He examines the diverse ethical and technical issues involved, including human cruelty, human domination over animals, the well-being of wild animals outside their natural habitat, and the nature of wild and domestic animals. In his analysis, Bostock draws attention to the areas which give rise to misconceptions. This book explores the long history of (...) zoos, as well as current philosophical debates, to argue for a conservational view of their role in the modern world. Anyone concerned with humanity's relationship with other animals and the natural world will find this to be thought-provoking and rewarding reading. (shrink)
This book offers a powerful response to what Varner calls the "two dogmas of environmental ethics"--the assumptions that animal rights philosophies and anthropocentric views are each antithetical to sound environmental policy. Allowing that every living organism has interests which ought, other things being equal, to be protected, Varner contends that some interests take priority over others. He defends both a sentientist principle giving priority to the lives of organisms with conscious desires and an anthropocentric principle giving priority to certain (...) very inclusive interests which only humans have. He then shows that these principles not only comport with but provide significant support for environmental goals. (shrink)
The preceding article by Marc Bekoff reveals much about our current understanding of animal self-consciousness and its implications. It also reveals how much more there is to be said and considered. This response briefly examines animal self-consciousness from scientific, moral, and theological perspectives. As Bekoff emphasizes, self-consciousness is not one thing but many. Consequently, our moral relationship to animals is not simply one based on a graded hierarchy of abilities. Furthermore, the complexity of animal self-awareness can serve as stimulus for (...) thinking about issues of theodicy and soteriology in a broader sense. (shrink)
The publication of 'Animal Rights and Souls in the 18th Century' will be welcomed by everyone interested in the development of the modern animal liberation movement, as well as by those who simply want to savour the work of enlightenment thinkers pushing back the boundaries of both science and ethics. At last these long out-of-print texts are again available to be read and enjoyed - and what texts they are! Gems like Bougeant's witty reductio of the Christian view of animals (...) are included together with path-breaking works of ethics such as Primatt's A Dissertation on the Duty of Mercy and Sin of Cruelty to Brute Animals . There are works I have never seen before, including the remarkable Cry of Nature by the Scottish revolutionary Jacobin, John Oswald. In this set, everyone will find something novel, delightful and truly enlightening. - Peter Singer The discussion of animal rights and the moral status of animals, so prevalent in the late twentieth century, has its roots in the mid to late eighteenth century. Some of the themes we consider of recent invention - the legal standing of animals, the ethical status of vegetarians, cruelty towards animals, ultimately resulting in cruelty to humans - are of long standing. But in the eighteenth-century literature they are interconnected with theological issues surrounding animal souls, the birth of the life sciences, the great chain of being and other peculiarly eighteenth-century problems. This collection explores the exciting early discussions of moral theories concerning animals, placing them within their historical and social context. It reveals that issues such as vivisection, animal souls and vegetarianism were very much live philosophical subjects 200 years ago. The six volumes reprinted here includes complete works and edited extracts from such key eighteenth-century thinkers as Oswald, Primatt, Smellie, Monboddo and Jenyns. Many of the materials are extremely rare and never previously reprinted. The collection, edited with a new introduction and bio-bibliography by Aaron V. Garrett provides valuable original source material to supplement contemporary discussions of animal rights. --18th-century material on the theme of animal rights and practical ethics --an important supplement to contemporary animal rights discussions --provides a broader account of early discussions of the 'science of human nature' through animals --widens our understanding of 18th-century ethics through an important area of practical ethics --includes many scarce texts, most of which have never been reprinted before. (shrink)
Utilitarianism, the ethical doctrine that holds in its most basic form that right actions are those that maximize pleasure and minimize pain, has been at the center of many of the ethical debates around animal welfare. The most well-known utilitarian of our time, Peter Singer, is widely credited with having sparked the animal welfare movement of the past 35+ years, using utilitarian reasoning to argue against using animals in invasive research that we aren’t willing to perform on humans. Yet many (...) people who have argued for the use of animals in invasive experimentation have also appealed to utilitarian ideas by claiming that insofar as lab animals suffer, the suffering is justified by greater benefits produced via the knowledge gained from research. In this paper, I will examine whether the classical utilitarian prescriptions “maximize pleasure” and “minimize pain” should be treated as equals by the theory and, if not, what the possible implications are for research involving nonhuman animals. -/- The idea that pain has a stronger influence than pleasure is accepted in much of the recent psychology literature on well-being. Some philosophers have also argued that minimizing suffering should play a more important role in ethical theorizing than maximizing pleasure. However, I will argue that neuroscience is uniquely positioned to provide definitive evidence that pleasure and pain are not merely two symmetrical poles of a single scale of experience, but in fact two different types of experiences altogether with dramatically different contributions to our wellbeing. I consider several different conceptions of symmetry, and argue that each is at odds with the most recent empirical results. (shrink)
How much do animals matter--morally? Can we keep considering them as second class beings, to be used merely for our benefit? Or, should we offer them some form of moral egalitarianism? Inserting itself into the passionate debate over animal rights, this fascinating, provocative work by renowned scholar Paola Cavalieri advances a radical proposal: that we extend basic human rights to the nonhuman animals we currently treat as "things." Cavalieri first goes back in time, tracing the roots of the debate from (...) the 1970s, then explores not only the ethical but also the scientific viewpoints, examining the debate's precedents in mainstream Western philosophy. She considers the main proposals of reform that recently have been advanced within the framework of today's prevailing ethical perspectives. Are these proposals satisfying? Cavalieri says no, claiming that it is necessary to go beyond the traditional opposition between utilitarianism and Kantianism and focus on the question of fundamental moral protection. In the case of human beings, such protection is granted within the widely shared moral doctrine of universal human rights' theory. Cavalieri argues that if we examine closely this theory, we will discover that its very logic extends to nonhuman animals as beings who are owed basic moral and legal rights and that, as a result, human rights are not human after all. (shrink)
The end of human history is an event that has been foreseen or announced by both messianics and dialecticians. But who is the protagonist of that history that is coming—or has come—to a close? What is man? How did he come on the scene? And how has he maintained his privileged place as the master of, or first among, the animals? In The Open, contemporary Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben considers the ways in which the “human” has been thought of as (...) either a distinct and superior type of animal, or a kind of being that is essentially different from animal altogether. In an argument that ranges from ancient Greek, Christian, and Jewish texts to twentieth-century thinkers such as Heidegger, Benjamin, and Kojève, Agamben examines the ways in which the distinction between man and animal has been manufactured by the logical presuppositions of Western thought, and he investigates the profound implications that the man/animal distinction has had for disciplines as seemingly disparate as philosophy, law, anthropology, medicine, and politics. (shrink)
Problems of and explanations for evil -- Neo-cartesianism -- Animal suffering and the fall -- Nobility, flourishing, and immortality : animal pain and animal well-being -- Natural evil, nomic regularity, and animal suffering -- Chaos, order, and evolution -- Combining CDs.
Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum bring together an all-star cast of contributors to explore the legal and political issues that underlie the campaign for animal rights and the opposition to it. Addressing ethical questions about ownership, protection against unjustified suffering, and the ability of animals to make their own choices free from human control, the authors offer numerous different perspectives on animal rights and animal welfare. They show that whatever one's ultimate conclusions, the relationship between human beings and nonhuman animals (...) is being fundamentally rethought. This book offers a state-of-the-art treatment of that rethinking. (shrink)
Animal research is a challenging issue for the animal advocate because of what, besides animal well-being, is considered to be at stake, namely, human health. This article seeks to vindicate the antivivisectionist position. The standard defense of animal research as promoting the overwhelming good of human health is refuted on both factual and logical, or normative-theoretical, grounds. The author then attempts to clinch the case by arguing that animal research violates a deontic principle. However, this principle falls to counterexample. The (...) author concludes, nevertheless, that the principle retains force as a presumption that the current state of affairs fails to overthrow. This does suggest, though, that the antivivisection movement would be well advised to keep ahead of the curve. The author proposes it do so by emulating the vegan movement against animal agriculture with the active promotion of alternatives to animal research. (shrink)
Introduction: The role of animals in philosophies of man -- Part I: What's wrong with animal rights? -- The right to remain silent -- Part II: Animal pedagogy -- You are what you eat : Rousseau's cat -- Say the human responded : Herder's sheep -- Part III: Difference worthy of its name -- Hair of the dog : Derrida's and Rousseau's good taste -- Sexual difference, animal difference : Derrida's sexy silkworm -- Part IV: It's our fault -- The (...) beaver's struggle with species-being : De Beauvoir and the praying mantis -- Answering the call of nature : Lacan walking the dog -- Part V: Estranged kinship -- The abyss between humans and animals : Heidegger puts the bee in being -- Strange kinship : Merleau-Ponty's sensuous stickleback -- Stopping the anthropological machine : Agamben's tick-tocking tick -- Psychoanalysis and the science of kinship -- Psychoanalysis as animal by-product : Freud's zoophilia -- Animal abjects, maternal abjects : Kristeva's strays -- Conclusion: Sustainable ethics. (shrink)
Zoopolis offers a new agenda for the theory and practice of animal rights. Most animal rights theory focuses on the intrinsic capacities or interests of animals, and the moral status and moral rights that these intrinsic characteristics give rise to. Zoopolis shifts the debate from the realm of moral theory and applied ethics to the realm of political theory, focusing on the relational obligations that arise from the varied ways that animals relate to human societies and institutions. Building on recent (...) developments in the political theory of group-differentiated citizenship, Zoopolis introduces us to the genuine "political animal". It argues that different types of animals stand in different relationships to human political communities. Domesticated animals should be seen as full members of human-animal mixed communities, participating in the cooperative project of shared citizenship. Wilderness animals, by contrast, form their own sovereign communities entitled to protection against colonization, invasion, domination and other threats to self-determination. `Liminal' animals who are wild but live in the midst of human settlement (such as crows or raccoons) should be seen as "denizens", resident of our societies, but not fully included in rights and responsibilities of citizenship. To all of these animals we owe respect for their basic inviolable rights. But we inevitably and appropriately have very different relations with them, with different types of obligations. Humans and animals are inextricably bound in a complex web of relationships, and Zoopolis offers an original and profoundly affirmative vision of how to ground this complex web of relations on principles of justice and compassion. (shrink)
Introduction: Reason, ethics, and animals -- Part I: Making the rational case -- Why animal suffering matters morally -- How we minimize animal suffering and how we can change -- Part II: Three practical critiques -- First case: Hunting with dogs -- Second case: Fur farming -- Third case: Commercial sealing -- Conclusion: Re-establishing animals and children as a common cause and six objections considered.
Focus of animal welfare -- Agricultural sciences and animal welfare : crop production and animal production -- Veterinary science and animal welfare -- Genetics, biotechnology, and breeding : mixed blessings -- Animal welfare, grading compromise, and mitigating suffering -- Standardised behavioural testing in non-verbal humans and other animals -- Human-animal interactions and animal welfare -- Environmental enrichment : studying the nature of nurture -- Societal contexts of animal welfare -- Integrated perspectives : sleep, developmental stage, and animal welfare -- The (...) wider context of animal welfare science. (shrink)
This thought-provoking book will ask what it is to be human, what to be animal, and what are the natures of the relationships between them. This is accomplished with philosophical and ethical discussions, scientific evidence and dynamic theoretical approaches. Attitudes to Animals will also encourage us to think not only of our relationships to non-human animals, but also of those to other, human, animals. This book provides a foundation that the reader can use to make ethical choices about animals. It (...) will challenge readers to question their current views, attitudes and perspectives on animals, nature and development of the human-animal relationship. Human perspectives on the human-animal relationships reflect what we have learned, together with spoken and unspoken attitudes and assumptions, from our families, societies, media, education and employment. (shrink)
My commentary on Hurley is concerned with foundational issues. Hurley's investigation of animal cognition is cast within a particular framework—basically, a philosophically refined version of folk psychology. Her discussion has a complicated relationship to unresolved debates about the nature and status of folk psychology, especially debates about the extent to which folk psychological categories are aimed at picking out features of the causal organization of the mind.
Abstract McDowell's contributions to epistemology and philosophy of mind turn centrally on his defense of the Aristotelian concept of a ?rational animal?. I argue here that a clarification of how McDowell uses this concept can make more explicit his distance from Davidson regarding the nature of the minds of non-rational animals. Close examination of his responses to Davidson and to Dennett shows that McDowell is implicitly committed to avoiding the following ?false trichotomy?: that animals are not bearers of semantic content (...) at all, that they are bearers of content in the same sense we are, and that they are bearer of ?as if? content. Avoiding the false trichotomy requires that we understand non-rational animals as having concepts but not as making judgments. Furthermore, we need to supplement McDowell's distinction between the logical spaces of reasons and of the realm of law with what Finkelstein calls ?the logical space of animate life?. Though McDowell has taken some recent steps to embrace a view like this, I urge a more demanding conception than what McDowell has thus far suggested. (shrink)
General information -- The animals themselves -- Philosophical arguments -- Laws -- Political realities -- Social realities -- Education and the arts -- Contemporary sciences -- Major figures and organizations in the animal rights movement -- The future of animal rights.
Functional hypotheses about animal signalling often refer to mental states of the sender or the receiver. Mental states are functional categorizations of neurophysiological states. Functional questions about animal signals are intertwined with causal questions. This interrelationship is illustrated in regard to avian distraction displays. In purposive signalling, the sender has a goal of influencing the behavior of the receiver. Purposive signalling is innovative if the sender's goal is unrelated to the biological function of the signal. This may be the case (...) in some instances of false alarm calling. Biological functionalism differs from philosophical functionalism in its concept of identity and in the specification of relevant inputs and outputs. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: ContentsIntroduction: A Change of Heart1. What's behind Animal Advocacy? -- 2. The Love of a Dog: Of Pets and Puppy Mills, Mixed-Breeds and Shelters -- 3. The Animal on Your Plate: Farmers, Vegans, and Locavores -- 4. Where the Wild Things Ought to Be: Sanctuaries, Zoos, and Exotic Pets -- 5. From Object to Subject: Animals in Scientific Research -- 6. Clothing Ourselves in Stories of Love: Affect and Animal AdvocacyConclusion: Trouble in the PackAcknowledgments -- Notes (...) -- Bibliography -- Index. (shrink)
The destruction of animality that takes place in Heidegger’s Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics goes as far as to destroy the very idea of an animal life as distinct from plant life. “Life”, as Heidegger says in Being and Time, is “a specific mode of being”, that is to say, as the 1929-30 lecture course will show, that it is “the mode of being of animals and plants”. Conceived as a mere organism that does “nothing more than to live”, the animal (...) find itself deprived of world, living in a vegetative state, in a kind of stupor (Benommenheit). The method of the ontology of life – announced in Being and Time as a “privative interpretation” – will reveal itself as a biological reduction: the strategy is to find functional equivalences for all that, in animals, resemble in any way what we find in humans. The life of animals is not a life, but biological processes. The traditional faculties associated with animal life – movement, perception and irrational desire (i.e. impulsion) – will be held as properly human, letting the animals a form of life deprived of signification, of possibility, of world. (shrink)
The aim of this review is to assess the ethical implications of finfish aquaculture, regarding fish welfare and environmental aspects. The finfish aquaculture industry has grown substantially the last decades, both as a result of the over-fishing of wild fish populations, and because of the increasing consumer demand for fish meat. As the industry is growing, a significant amount of research on the subject is being conducted, monitoring the effects of aquaculture on the environment and on animal welfare. The areas (...) of concern when it comes to animal welfare have here been divided into four different stages: breeding period; growth period; capturing and handling; and slaughter. Besides these stages, this report includes a chapter on the current evidence of fish sentience, since this issue is still being debated among biologists. However, most biologists are at present acknowledging the probability of fish being sentient creatures. Current aquaculture practices are affecting fish welfare during all four of the cited stages, both on physical and mental levels, as well as on the ability of fish to carry out natural behaviors. The effect fish farming has on the environment is here separated into five different categories: the decline of wild fish populations; waste and chemical discharge; loss of habitat; spreading of diseases; and invasion of exotic organisms. There is evidence of severe negative effects on the environment when looking at these five categories, even when considering the difficulty of studying environmental effects, due to the closely interacting variables. The ethical arguments and scientific evidences here reviewed have not all come to the same conclusions. Nevertheless, the general agreement is that current aquaculture practices are neither meeting the needs of fish nor environment. Thus, the obvious environmental and animal welfare aspects of finfish aquaculture make it hard to ethically defend a fish diet. (shrink)
In Scepticism and Animal Faith, Santayana pursues two projects: the development of a philosophy of animal faith and the presentation of an ontology. The two projects are not easily reconciled and Santayana appears not to have distinguished them or recognized that they pull in different directions. The hypothesis that he has two projects explains a variety of the anomalous features of Santayana's philosophy, including the account of matter concerning which Kerr-Lawson and I have long disagreed.
In current dairy farming it is possible to run a profitable farm without having to adapt the system to the needs of dairy cows. In such systems the interests of the farmer and animals often diverge. Consequently, specific animal welfare problems occur. Foot disorders in dairy cattle are an illustrative example resulting from the specific methods of housing and management in current dairy farming. Foot disorders and the resulting lameness are considered the most important welfare problem in dairy farming. However, (...) these foot disorders not only typify welfare problems related to certain housing systems, but they also lead to the premature culling of cows. The assessment of the impact of foot disorders on the welfare of dairy cows raised the question of whether premature culling affects animal welfare since it affects the longevity of a cow. We argue that this aspect of longevity is morally relevant as an animal welfare issue. In this paper we aim to explore whether longevity is both (a) a morally relevant aspect in the discussion on killing animals and (b) a constitutive element of animal welfare. In other words, we aim to explore whether longevity is an independent moral argument in an animal welfare discussion. We claim that longevity is not merely important as an indicator of animal welfare, but is also a constitutive element of animal welfare. We argue that we need a more integrated approach to animal welfare and that an assessment that includes the aspect of time is necessary. This view involves a shift from views on animal welfare in terms of functioning or feeling well to a view on animal welfare that includes the aspect of natural living in which species-specific development is important. To show the impact of these points of view, we look at the practical implications for choices concerning the management of foot disorders in dairy cattle. (shrink)
Within this paper, I critique the history of the modification of the broiler chicken through selective breeding and possible future genetic modification. I utilize Margaret Atwood’s fictitious depiction of genetically engineered chickens, from her novel Oryx and Crake , in order to forward the argument that modifications that eliminate animal telos either move beyond the range of current ethical frameworks or can be ethically defended by them. I then utilize the work of feminist epistemologists to argue that understanding what it (...) means to be a chicken shapes our conceptions of what modifications are or are not acceptable. Taking into account justifications stemming from practical knowledge when making ontological claims can help to shift our understanding of what animal modifications can or cannot be justified. The paper ends by addressing three possible problems brought about by accepting such justifications. (shrink)
Ethological farm programs as they exist in Switzerland are compared with environmental farm programs in respect of demand and supply. Because animal welfare is not a public good but rather a relation that causes psychological externalities, the demand for animal welfare has a different standing in economic theory than the demand for a clean environment. The supply of animal welfare by farmers, however, largely follows the patterns known from the delivery of environmental goods. Farm size, age and education, and also (...) family size and capital intensity are influencing variables. The paper concludes that the design of ethological farm programs should be based on broad public discussions as described by deliberation theorists rather than willingness-to-pay studies. (shrink)
Philosophers have worried that research on animal mind-reading faces a “logical problem”: the difficulty of experimentally determining whether animals represent mental states (e.g. seeing) or merely the observable evidence for those states (e.g. line-of-gaze). The most impressive attempt to confront this problem has been mounted recently by Robert Lurz (2009, 2011). However, Lurz’ approach faces its own logical problem, revealing this challenge to be a special case of the more general problem of distal content. Moreover, participants in this debate do (...) not appear to agree on criteria for representation. As such, future debate on this question should either abandon the representational idiom or confront differences in underlying semantics. (shrink)
To establish a starting point for a phenomenological theory of the science of primate ethology, this essay first reviews how the phenomenological philosophers Aron Gurwitsch and Maurice Merleau-Ponty made use of the Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Köhler’s description of chimpanzee consciousness and its objects and then considers primate ethology in light of the theory of the cultural sciences in the work of Gurwitsch in addition to that of Alfred Schutz.
While the academic discussion of gender and family issues often adopts the contractarian and consensual approach of liberalism, the work of Stephen R. L. Clark provides an interesting contrast. Clark turns to ethology as a guide to modes of social existence congruent with our evolutionary nature. Although an Aristotelian, Clark is not a sexist in arguing that household life is more important than what moderns call ?political? life. Clark is premature, however, in accusing liberals who defend the rights of (...) individuals of ignoring the ethological evidence. Liberals need not so emphasize the individual that they destroy the family as the locus of moral education. (shrink)
Diplomatic theory and practice -- International funding for animal protection -- International conferences and delegation management -- The media as a tool for diplomacy -- Important associations and international organizations -- Epilogue.
The significance of animals in research cannot be over-emphasized. The use of animals for research and training in research centres, hospitals and schools is progressively increasing. Advances in biotechnology to improve animal productivity require animal research. Drugs being developed and new interventions or therapies being invented for cure and palliation of all sorts of animal diseases and conditions need to be tested in animals for their safety and efficacy at some stages of their development. Drugs and interventions for human use (...) pass through a similar development process and must be tested pre-clinically in laboratory animals before clinical trials in humans can be conducted. Therefore, animals are important players in research processes which directly and indirectly benefit animals and humans. However, questions remain as to whether these uses of animals consider the best interests of animals themselves. Various research and training institutions in Tanzania have established some guidelines on animal use, including establishing animal ethics committees. However, most institutions have not established oversight committees. In institutions where there may be guidelines and policies, there are no responsible committees or units to directly oversee if and how these guidelines and policies are enforced; thus, implementation becomes difficult or impossible. This paper endeavours to raise some issues associated with the responsible use of animals in research and training in Tanzania and highlights suggestions for improvement of deficiencies that exist in order to bridge the gap between what ought to be practised and what is practised. (shrink)
The Animal Ethics Reader is the first comprehensive, state-of-the-art anthology of readings on this substantial area of study and interest. A subject that regularly captures the headlines, the book is designed to appeal to anyone interested in tracing the history of the subject, as well as providing a powerful insight into the debate as it has developed. The recent wealth of material published in this area has not, until now, been collected in one volume. Readings are arranged thematically, carefully presenting (...) a balanced representation of the subject as it stands. It will be essential reading for students taking a course in the subject as well as being of considerable interest to the general reader. Articles are arranged under the following headings: Theories of Animal Ethics; Animal Capacities; Animals for Food; Animal Experimentation; Genetic Engineering of Animals; Ethics and Wildlife; Zoos, Aquaria, and Animals in Entertainment; Companion Animals; Legal Rights for Animals. Readings from leading experts in the field including Peter Singer, Mary Midgley and Bernard Rollin are featured as well as selections from Donald Griffin, Mark Bekoff, Jane Goodall, Raymond Frey, Barbara Orlans, Tom Regan, and Baird Callicott. There is an emphasis on balancing classic and contemporary readings with a view to presenting debates as they stand at this point in time. Each chapter is introduced by the editors and study questions feature at the end. The foreword has been written by Bernard Rollin. (shrink)
Partly in response to rising rates of obesity, many governments have published healthy eating advice. Focusing on health advice related to the consumption of animal products (APs), I argue that the individualistic paradigm that prevails must be replaced by a radically new approach that emphasizes the duty of all human beings to restrict their negative “Global Health Impacts” (GHIs). If they take human rights seriously, many governments from nations with relatively large negative GHIs—including the Australian example provided here—must develop strategies (...) to reduce their citizens’ negative GHIs. As the negative GHIs associated with the consumption of many APs are excessive, it is my view that many governments ought to adopt a qualified ban on the consumption of APs. (shrink)
This collection of new essays aims to address some of the most perplexing issues arising from death and dying, as well as the moral status of persons and animals. Leading scholars, including Peter Singer and Gerald Dworkin, investigate diverse topics such as animal rights, vegetarianism, lethal injection, abortion and euthanasia.
I argue that the personhood of a fetus is analogous to the the heap. If this is correct, then the moral status or intrinsic value of a fetus would be supervenient upon the fetus's biological development. Yet to compare its claim vis-a-vis its mother's, we need to consider not only their moral status, but also the type of claim they each have. Thus we have to give weight to the two factors or variables of the mother's moral status and her (...) claim to some lesser good (assuming that this is not the kind of case in which the mother would suffer some great harm, such as death). And then we have to consider the fetus's lesser moral status and its claim to some greater good, namely, life. I argue that we do not know how to compare these two-variable claims. This also explains why the central cases of abortion have been so difficult to resolve. I suggest that the problem of animal rights has a similar structure. (shrink)
Choosing a compassionate lifestyle that makes you feel good and positively impacts on the environment and on animals has never been easier. In this practical and accessible handbook, loaded with resources for all products that are mentioned, Ingrid Newkirk presents fabulous options that will not only enhance your life, but those of your neighbors, your community, animals, and the earth itself. From comfortable home furnishings, to delicious foods, to fashionable clothing there are a myriad of choices to be made that (...) can have a lasting positive effect on the well-being of animals and the environment, including: - recognizing hidden animal ingredients in cosmetics and household products - raising ecologically aware and animal-friendly kids - creating healthy, environmentally-friendly meals for everyday and special occasions - dressing with style without using leather or other animal products - dealing kindly with mice, insects, and other 'pests' in home or garden - adopting the right animal companion for you - volunteering and investing in eco- and animal-friendly companies - traveling with Eco-consciousness. (shrink)