The paper deals with partiality flowing from special relationships. Two main problems are discussed. The first concerns the relationship between partiality and genuine moral obligations. If partiality can bring about such obligations only if it is reasonable, what requirements should it meet in order to be reasonable? The second problem is one of animal ethics. Can the concept of reasonable partiality help us articulate what is morally at stake in a current discussion about the treatment of domesticanimals, (...) viz. the European discussion about the castration of pigs? (shrink)
The publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 ignited a public storm he neither wanted nor enjoyed. Having offered his book as a contribution to science, Darwin discovered to his dismay that it was received as an affront by many scientists and as a sacrilege by clergy and Christian citizens. To answer the criticism that his theory was a theory only, and a wild one at that, he published two volumes in 1868 to demonstrate that evolution was (...) obvious to anyone who cared to look at a bull in a pasture or a dog on a hearth. In response to those who insisted that species were distinct since creation, Darwin pointed to breeders of pigs and pigeons. In reply to those who protested that human intervention is one thing and natural selection another, he argued, "If organic beings had not possessed an inherent tendency to vary, man could have done nothing." To counter those who scorned his descriptions of species in exotic places, he submitted local evidence of cabbages and cauliflower. Based on a wide array of sources, from ancient pictographs to Polish roosters, from skins and from skeletons, from scientific journals and breeding manuals, Darwin assembled a mass of proof--and a hypothesis about species reversion that risked his reputation anew. The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication is a two-volume compilation of his thorough and intensive research and the revolutionary conclusions that resulted. The first portion of his work is dedicated to a meticulous analysis of various aspects of plant and animal life, including an inventory of varieties and their physical and behavioral characteristics, investigation of the impact of a species' surrounding environment and the role that both natural and forced changes in this environment have had. Darwin then turns to a richly detailed discussion of the roles of inheritance and crossing in the development of species. A wealth of illustrations further support and enhance his findings. This fascinating, invaluable, and courageous undertaking eventually formed the foundation for our current understanding of evolution. "In science as in politics the victors tend to write the history books. As a result, the record of the past is edited, intentionally or unintentionally, so that it focuses mainly on the precursors of contemporary orthodoxy. Such a focus may accurately represent the genealogy of modern ideas, but it almost inevitably misrepresents the historical experience of their progenitors... Even the powerful, persuasive, and ultimately triumphant theory of evolution by natural selection required not only defense, but repeated buttressing and revision. Variation showed Darwin hard at work on this rearguard action, using the materials he had at hand... His information was gleaned from the observations of fanciers, breeders, and amateur naturalists, as well as from the treatises of those on the cutting edge of zoology and botany. As hindsight narrows the historical spotlight, it imposes its own sense of hierarchy on the preoccupations of the past. But Darwin was interested in all of these topics, valued all of these sources, and belonged, to a greater or lesser extent, to all of these communities."--from the Introduction. (shrink)
Are they needed? To be sure. The Darwinian industry, industrious though it is, has failed to provide texts of more than a handful of Darwin's books. If you want to know what Darwin said about barnacles (still an essential reference to cirripedists, apart from any historical importance) you are forced to search shelves, or wait while someone does it for you; some have been in print for a century; various reprints have appeared and since vanished." -Eric Korn,Times Literary Supplement Charles (...) Robert Darwin (1880-1882) has been widely recognized since his own time as one of the most influential writers in the history of Western thought. His books were widely read by specialists and the general public, and his influence had been extended by almost continuous public debate over the last 130 years. New York University Press' edition makes it possible for the first time to review Darwin's public literary output as a whole, plus his scientific journal articles, his private notebooks, and his correspondence. This is the first complete edition containing all of Darwin's published books, featuring definitive texts recording original paginations with Darwin's indexes retained. All illustrations and plates are presented, inclucing 82 color plates of birds and mammals and several folding maps and plates. The set also features a general introduction and index, and textural introductions in each volume. (shrink)
In On Their Own Terms (Darien, CT: Nectar Bat Press, 2010), Lee Hall articulates a theory that wild animals, due to their autonomous nature, are endowed with rights, but domesticated animals lack rights because they are not autonomous. Hall then argues that the rights of wild animals require that humans let them alone, and that, despite the fact that domesticanimals lack rights, humans are required to take care of them because it is humans who (...) brought them into existence. While sympathetic to Hall's aims, this review concludes that Hall’s theory denies rights to domesticanimals only by employing theoretical means that are uncomfortably analogous to how others have denied rights to all nonhuman animals. (shrink)
This book examines the early modern science of generation, which included the study of animal conception, heredity, and fetal development. Analyzing how it influenced the contemporary treatment of traditional philosophical questions, it also demonstrates how philosophical presuppositions about mechanism, substance, and cause informed the interpretations offered by those conducting empirical research on animal reproduction. Composed of cutting-edge essays written by an international team of leading scholars, the book offers a fresh perspective on some of the basic problems in early modern (...) philosophy. (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 domesticanimals. 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 paper outlines the moral contours of human relationships with companion animals. The paper details three sources of duties to and regarding companion animals: (1) from the animal’s status as property, (2) from the animal’s position in relationships of care, love, and dependency, and (3) from the animal’s status as a sentient being with a good of its own. These three sources of duties supplement one another and not only differentiate relationships with companion animals from wild (...) class='Hi'>animals and other categories of domesticanimals such as livestock, but they also overlap to provide moral agents with additional reasons for preventing and avoiding harm to companion animals. The paper concludes that not only do owners and bystanders have direct and indirect duties to protect companion animals from harm, but also that these duties have the potential, in some circumstances, to clash with duties owed to the state and fellow citizens. (shrink)
There is yet to be any animal welfare or protection law for domesticanimals in China, one of the few countries in the world today that do not have such laws. However, in Chinese imperial law, there were legal provisions adopted more than a 1,000 years ago for the care and treatment of domestic working animals. Furthermore, in traditional Chinese philosophy, animals were regarded as constituent part of the organic whole of the cosmos by ancient (...) Chinese philosophers who saw no strict delineation between humans and non-human animals. Notwithstanding, the attitude and practice towards animals in ancient Chinese life was also ambivalent and was predicated upon the practical utility of animals for the service of humans and society. Such practice can be seen through the legal provisions in imperial China. This paper first discusses animal’s place in traditional Chinese philosophy and then in Chinese imperial law. It raises the issue of the gap discernable from the philosophical thought on animals and practice regarding animals in everyday life in China. The paper argues that given the gap in perception and attitude regarding animals, law can play an important role that moral teaching has not been able to achieve. (shrink)
Although the notion of natural behavior occurs in many policy-making and legal documents on animal welfare, no consensus has been reached concerning its definition. This paper argues that one reason why the notion resists unanimously accepted definition is that natural behavior is not properly a biological concept, although it aspires to be one, but rather a philosophical tendency to perceive animal behavior in accordance with certain dichotomies between nature and culture, animal and human, original orders and invented artifacts. The paper (...) scrutinizes the philosophy of natural behavior as it developed in the organic movement in response to a perceived contrast between industrialized and traditional agriculture. There are two reasons for focusing on the organic movement: (i) the emphasis on “the natural” is most accentuated there and has a long history, (ii) everyday life on organic farms presupposes human/animal interplay, which conflicts with the philosophical tendency to separate nature from culture. This mismatch between theory and practice helps us see why, and how, the philosophy of natural behavior needs to be reconsidered. The paper proposes that we understand farms as local human/animal cultures, and asks what we can mean my natural behavior in such contexts. Since domesticanimals adapt to agricultural environments via interaction with caretakers, such interplay is analyzed as “hub” in these animals’ natural behavior. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with changing social representations of the ``wild,'' in particular wild animals. We argue that within a contemporary Western context the old agricultural perception of wild animals as adversarial and as a threat to domestication, is being replaced by an essentially urban fascination with certain emblematic wild animals, who are seen to embody symbols of naturalness and freedom. On closer examination that carefully mediatized ``naturalness'' may be but another form of domestication. After an historical (...) overview of the human-animal, domestic-wild construction, an anthropological approach is used to interpret the social representation of wild animals held by different social actors – farmers, hunters, and tourists – within the context of an inhabited National Park, that of the Cévennes in south east France. Within the Park, the domestic and the wild, along with agriculture, hunting, conservation, re-introduced wild animals, and tourists co-habit. It is argued that changes in the representation of ``wildness'' may well be an important indicator ofchanges in the social representation of nature. (shrink)
Most discussions on animal experimentation refer to domesticated animals and regulations are tailored to this class of animals. However, wild animals are also used for research, e.g., in biological field research that is often directed to fundamental ecological-evolutionary questions or to conservation goals. There are several differences between domesticated and wild animals that are relevant for evaluation of the acceptability of animal experiments. Biological features of wild animals are often more critical as compared with domesticated (...)animals because of their survival effects. An important issue is what is called here ``natural suffering'''': the suffering from natural circumstances. Should this type of suffering be taken into account when suffering from experimentation is evaluated? As an answer, it is suggested that ``natural functioning'''' should be considered as an additional standard in the evaluation of wild animal experimentation. Finally, two topics related to the ecological context are considered. Firstly, the often inevitable involvement of non-research animals in wild animal experimentation, and secondly, the eco-centric approach to nature conservation. According to the latter position, animals are subordinated to ecosystems. All these aspects make the evaluation of wild animal experiments much more complex than experiments with domesticated animals. Preliminary scores are proposed to deal with these aspects. It is argued that this should not lead to a more complex governmental regulation, since an effective maintenance and control are hard to realize and one may loose the cooperation of researchers themselves. In addition, non-governmental professional organizations such as research societies and funding organizations play a pivotal role. (shrink)
Domestic livestock animals and soils must be considered together as part of an agroecosystem which includes plants. Soil sustainability may be simply defined as the maintenance of soil productivity for future generations. There are both positive and negative aspects concerning the role of animals in soil sustainability. In a positive sense, agroecosystems which include ruminant animals often also include hay forage-or pasture-based crops in the humid regions. Such crops stabilize the soil by decreasing erosion, improving soil (...) structure and usually require fewer chemical inputs. Monogastric animal culture is based on an agroecosystem consisting of mainly grain crops. These crops can result in the soil being exposed to water and wind erosion although soil conservation practices that significantly reduce soil losses may be followed. The management of animal manures is not always compatible with soil conservation practices. Careful management of the nutrients in manure is absolutely necessary to avoid nitrate contamination of ground water or phosphorus loading of streams and lakes. In a negative sense, increases in animal livestock populations in association with human population growth are promoting desertification in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world. The key component for a fully compatible and acceptable association between domesticanimals and soil productivity is proper management. Careful management of the components of an animal-based agroecosystem is required if soil productivity and environmental quality are to be maintained. Although we have much to learn, technologies are available to move a considerable way towards this ideal state. (shrink)
Research at the intersections of feminism, biology and philosophy provides dynamic starting grounds for this discussion of genetic technologies and animals. With a focus on animal bodies, I will examine moral implications of the genetic engineering of “domesticated” animals—primarily pigs and chickens—for the purposes of human consumption. Concepts of natural and artificial, contamination and purity, integrity and fragmentation and mind and body will feature in the discussion. In this respect, Margaret Atwood’s novel, Oryx and Crake, serves as a (...) cogent medium for exploring these highly contentious practices and ideas as it provides hypothetical narratives of possibility. Moreover, it is used to highlight contemporary hegemonic assumptions and values in ways that make them visible. Particular attention is paid to issues of growing human organs in pigs for xenotransplantation (resulting, for Atwood, in “pigoons”) and the ultimate end of the intensive factory farming of chickens through the genetic engineering of ‘mindless’ chicken tumours (or, as Atwood calls them, “ChickieNobs”). Integral to these philosophical considerations is the provocative question of the genetic modification of animal bodies as a means to end the suffering of domestic food animals. The ultimate implications of this question include an ongoing sensory and moral deprivation of human experience, potentially resulting in a future mechanomophosis, the extreme manifestation of an existing mechanomorphism. (shrink)
The Netherlands is a small country with many people and much livestock. As a result, animals in nature reservations are often living near cattle farms. Therefore, people from the agricultural practices are afraid that wild animals will infect domestic livestock with diseases like Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease. To protect agriculture (considered as an important economic practice), very strict regulations have been made for minimizing this risk. In this way, the practice of animal farming has (...) been dominating the practices of nature management completely. If, for instance, Foot and Mouth Disease strikes an agricultural area, all wild pigs and cattle living in the nearby nature reservations have to be killed, whether infected or not. This dominant position of one practice over the other has now become problematic. While the morality of the practice of nature management seems to be very different from the morality of agriculture and agriculture has become less important from an economic point of view, the public as well as those involved in nature management no longer seem to accept the dominant position of agriculture. Besides a literature study, we performed a field study with in-depth interviews with experts from both practices to analyze the dynamics of the internal moralities of both practices in the previous century, in order to clarify the contemporary situation. The conclusion was that the traditionally strong position of agriculture is not only weakening; it also appears that the internal values of agriculture are changing. The experts from both sides agreed that, in case of a disease outbreak, it is neither ethically justified nor necessary (because of the estimated low risk of disease transfer) to destroy the animals in nature reservations as a routine preventive measure. This is a major shift in morality. (shrink)
This article seeks to revisit the relationship between Rawls’s contractarianism and the moral status of animals, paying particular attention to the recent literature. Despite Rawls’s own reluctance to include animals as recipients of justice, and my own initial scepticism, a number of scholars have argued that his theory does provide resources that are useful for the animal advocate. The first type takes Rawls’s exclusion of animals from his theory of justice at face value but argues that (...) class='Hi'>animals can still be protected within a moral realm independently of justice, or indirectly through the motivations of human contractors. The second type adapts his theory in a way that enables animals to be included within a contractarian theory of justice. It is argued, though, that none of the responses offered is successful in providing a sphere of protection for animals from within Rawls’s contractarian theory. It is doubtful if Rawls’s intention was for animals to receive a significant degree of protection within a moral realm independently of justice, and equally doubtful if the contractors in the original position would be motivated to act on behalf of animals. In the case of the second, whilst Rawlsian resources can be utilised to justify the attempt to amend the veil of ignorance so as to include animals, these are not dependent on a contractural agreement. Similarly, placing emphasis on social-co-operation as a means of incorporating animals into a theory of justice is flawed, not least because, paradoxically, it works for domesticated animals whilst they are being exploited. (shrink)
Non-human animals (henceforth, “animals”) are typically regarded as moral patients rather than moral agents. Let us define these terms as follows: 1) X is a moral patient if and only if X is a legitimate object of moral concern: that is, roughly, X is something whose interests should be taken into account when decisions are made concerning it or which otherwise impact on it. 2) X is a moral agent if and only if X can be morally evaluated–praised (...) or blamed (broadly understood)–for its motives and actions. Nothing in (1) and (2), of course, rules out one and the same individual being both a moral agent and a patient. Most humans are both. The notion of a moral agent is typically run together with that of a moral subject: 3) X is a moral subject if and only if X is, at least sometimes, motivated to act by moral considerations. However, (2) and (3) are not equivalent: the motivation for an action is one thing, the evaluation of the action quite another; indeed evaluation is often of motivation. As a matter of practice these are, for obvious reasons, run together. But motivation and evaluation are conceptually distinct. This is a claim that many will regard with surprise. In effect, the bulk of this paper can be regarded as an attempt to defend this claim as it applies to the case of animals. In this section, I merely offer some preliminary remarks in its defense. Suppose that my wife, worn down by the domestic squalor that goes with two young boys, a very large dog, and a slovenly husband, has me (unknowingly) hypnotized. Now, whenever she utters the word ‘Rosebud’, I experience an uncontrollable desire to mop the floor. This desire is, it seems, a motivational state, one that when combined with relevant cognitive states (the belief that this is a mop, the belief that this is a floor, and so on) will, ceteris paribus, result in a certain sort of behavior on my part. This floor-mopping, however, is not something for which I can be praised or blamed. Ex hypothesi, it is the result of a motivational state that is outside my control.. (shrink)
Animal welfare has been conceptualized in such a way that the use of animals in science and for food seems justified. I argue that those who have done this have appropriated the concept of animal welfare, claiming to give a scientific account that is more objective than the sentimental account given by animal liberationists. This strategy seems to play a major role in supporting merely limited reform in the use of animals and seems to support the assumption that (...) there are conditions under which animals may be raised and slaughtered for food that are ethically acceptable. Reformists do not need to make this assumption, but they tend to conceptualize animal welfare is such a way that death does not count as harmful to the interests of animals, nor prolonged life a benefit. In addition to this prudential value assumption, some members of this community have developed strategies for defending suitably reformed farming practices as ethical even granting that death and some other forms of constraints are harms. One such strategy is the fiction of a domestic contract. However, if one accepts the conceptualization of human welfare give by L. W. Sumner, and applies it to animals in the way that I think is justified, an accurate conceptualization of animal welfare has different implications for which uses of animals should be regarded as ethically acceptable. In this paper I give an historical and philosophical account of animal welfare conceptulization and use this account to argue that animal breeders, as custodians of the animals they breed, have the ethical responsibility to help their animal wards achieve as much autonomy as possible in choosing the form of life made available to them and to provide that life. Attempts to avoid these implications by alluding to a contract model of the relationship between custodians and their wards fail to relieve custodians of their ethical responsibilities of care. (shrink)
Walter of Bibbesworth’s late thirteenth-century versified treatise on French vocabulary relevant to the management of estates in Britain has the first extensive list of animal vocalizations in a European vernacular. Many of the Anglo-Norman French names for animals and their sounds are glossed in Middle English, inviting both diachronic and synchronic views of the capacity of these languages for onomatopoetic formation and reflection on the interest of these social and linguistic communities in zoosemiotics.
Several writers on animal ethics defend the abolition of most or all animal agriculture, which they consider an unethical exploitation of sentient non-human animals. However, animal agriculture can also be seen as a co-evolution over thousands of years, that has affected biology and behavior on the one hand, and quality of life of humans and domesticanimals on the other. Furthermore, animals are important in sustainable agriculture. They can increase efficiency by their ability to transform materials (...) unsuitable for human consumption and by grazing areas that would be difficult to harvest otherwise. Grazing of natural pastures is essential for the pastoral landscape, an important habitat for wild flora and fauna and much valued by humans for its aesthetic value. Thus it seems that the environment gains substantially when animals are included in sustainable agricultural systems. But what about the animals themselves? Objections against animal agriculture often refer to the disrespect for animals’ lives, integrity, and welfare in present intensive animal production systems. Of the three issues at stake, neither integrity nor animal welfare need in principle be violated in carefully designed animal husbandry systems. The main ethical conflict seems to lie in the killing of animals, which is inevitable if the system is to deliver animal products. In this paper, we present the benefits and costs to humans and animals of including animals in sustainable agriculture, and discuss how to address some of the ethical issues involved. (shrink)
Can animals, and especially cattle, be the subject ofmoral concern? Should we care about their well-being?Two competing ethical theories have addressed suchissues so far. A utilitarian theory which, inBentham's wake, extends moral consideration to everysentient being, and a theory of the rights orinterests of animals which follows Feinberg'sconceptions. This includes various positions rangingfrom the most radical (about animal liberation) tomore moderate ones (concerned with the well-being ofanimals). Notwithstanding their diversity, theseconceptions share some common flaws. First, as anextension of (...) primarily anthropocentric theories (aboututility or rights) they still participate in the flawsof the original setting. Second, extending them tonon-human beings raises the problem of the borderwhich is to be drawn between what can be included inthe purview of moral consideration and what is leftoutside. Third, such theories are not able to distinguishbetween an ethics of wildlife and an ethics ofdomestic life, which too often leads to preposterousstatements. We would like to argue (i) that we should distinguishbetween environmental ethics (concerned withpopulations, species, biotic communities) and animalethics (where animals are taken into consideration individually);(ii) that individualist animal ethics are not relevantfor animal rearing; (iii) that animal rearing is a hierarchicalrelationship which rules are to be found in the fiction of a domesticcontract.Hence, we would like to construct a new conception ofthe ethics of the relation between men and the cattlethey breed based on the idea of a domestic contract.Our main assumption is Mary Midgleys's anthropologicalassumption, according to which human communities,since the Neolithic age, have always included variousanimals, so that relations of sociability have alwaysexisted between human beings and animals within thedomestic community (a mixed community). In order tospecify the hierarchical and non-egalitarian, butinclusive reciprocal obligations and relations insidesuch a community, we will elaborate on the notion ofa ``domestic contract'', an implicitly assumedidea traced back to Lucretius and whichwe will follow up to the physiocrats and Adam Smith.We will show that such an idea relies upon theassumption of communication between cattle farmer andanimals, of shared experience and exchanges betweenthe two parties. We will then show how modern factory,or battery animal farming, can be seen as unilaterallybreaking this domestic contract, forsaking ourduties towards domesticanimals. (shrink)
Some recent works have suggested that the relationship between human beings and domesticated animals might be described as contractual. This paper explores how the idea of such an animal contract might relate to key characteristics of social contract theory, in particular to issues of the change in state from 'nature' to 'culture'; to free consent and irrevocability; and to the benefits and losses to animals which might follow from such a contract. The paper concludes that there are important (...) dissimilarities between a domesticated animal contract and other theories of social contract; and that contract language may be used to legitimate relationships of domination over domesticated animals. (shrink)
I argue that recent developments in animal cognition support the conclusion that HOT theory is consistent with animal consciousness. There seems to be growing evidence that many animals are indeed capable of having I-thoughts, including episodic memory, as well as have the ability to understand the mental states of others.
Drawing on natural history, theology and philosophy, this book retraces the shifting foundations of the order of things that characterizes the period between Descartes and Kant with respect to three questions: What is an animal?
Despite the renewed interest in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals in recent years, the subject matter of GA V, its preferred mode(s) of explanation, and its place in the treatise as a whole remain misunderstood. Scholars focus on GA I-IV, which explain animal generation in terms of efficient-final causation, but dismiss GA V as a mere appendix, thinking it to concern (a) individual, accidental differences among animals, which are (b) purely materially necessitated, and (c) are only tangentially related to (...) the topics discussed in the earlier books. In this paper, we defend an alternative and more integrated account of GA V by closely examining Aristotle’s methodological introduction in GA V.1 778a16-b19 and his teleological explanation of the differences of teeth in GA V.8. We argue for the unity of both GA V and of GA as a whole and present a more nuanced theory of teleological explanation in Aristotle’s biology. (shrink)
Drawing upon Husserl and Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological constitution of the Other through Einfülhung, I argue that the hierarchical distinction between higher and lower animals – which has been dismissed by Heidegger for being anthropocentric – must not be conceived as an objective distinction between “primitive” animals and “more evolved” ones, but rather corresponds to a phenomenological distinction between familiar and unfamiliar animals.
Contrary to what we might initially think, domestic violence is not simply a violation of respect. This characterization of domestic violence misses two key points. First, the issue of respect in connection with domestic violence is not as straightforward as it appears. Second, domestic violence is also a violation of care. These key points explain how domestic violence negatively affects a victim’s autonomy and agency—the ability to choose and pursue her own goals and life plan.We (...) have a moral responsibility to respond to the problem of domestic violence as individuals. But the state also has a responsibility to respond. According to Kant in the Doctrine of Right, one of the purposes of the state is to secure just treatment for everyone. I argue that this includes an obligation to put in place policies and services that will promote the autonomy and agency of victims of domestic violence. (shrink)
Martha Nussbaum has expanded the capabilities approach to defend positive duties of justice to individuals who fall below Rawls’ standard for fully cooperating members of society, including sentient nonhuman animals. Building on this, David Schlosberg has defended the extension of capabilities justice not only to individual animals but also to entire species and ecosystems. This is an attractive vision: a happy marriage of social, environmental and ecological justice, which also respects the claims of individual animals. This paper (...) asks whether it is one that the capabilities approach can really deliver. Serious obstacles are highlighted. The potential for conflict between the capability-based entitlements of humans and those of nonhuman animals or ‘nature’ is noted, but it is argued that this does not constitute a decisive objection to the expanded capabilities approach. However, intra-nature conflicts are so widespread as to do so: the situation is outside the circumstances of justice as they are standardly understood. Schlosberg attempts to reconcile such conflicts by re-examining what it means to flourish as a sentient nonhuman animal. This fails, because of the distinction between flourishing as a species, which often requires predation, and flourishing as an individual, which is as frequently incompatible with it. Finally, the paper considers how a capabilities theorist might move beyond such conflicts, identifying two possible strategies (which are not themselves unproblematic) for reconciling the demands of humans, animals and ecosystems. (shrink)
It has been argued that only moral agents can have preference-interests and this therefore excludes animals. I will present two objections to this argument. The first will show that moral agency is not necessary to have preference-interests. The second will assert that the argument that animals cannot have preference-interests has unwelcome consequences.
Some philosophers have argued that moral agency is characteristic of humans alone and that its absence from other animals justifies granting higher moral status to humans. However, human beings do not have a monopoly on moral agency, which admits of varying degrees and does not require mastery of moral principles. The view that all and only humans possess moral agency indicates our underestimation of the mental lives of other animals. Since many other animals are moral agents (to (...) varying degrees), they are also subject to (limited) moral obligations, examples of which are provided in this paper. But, while moral agency is sufficient for significant moral status, it is by no means necessary. (shrink)
In Kant’s moral theory, we do not have duties to animals, though we have duties with regard to them. I reconstruct Kant’s arguments for several types of duties with regard to animals and show that Kant’s theory imposes far more robust requirements on our treatment of animals than one would expect. Kant’s duties regarding animals are perfect and imperfect; they are primarily but not exclusively duties to oneself; and they condemn not merely cruelty to animals (...) for its own sake, but also, such things as killing them for food when our health does not require it and ingratitude to service animals. Central to understanding these duties is appreciating Kant’s concern for our morally useful emotions, for it is primarily because of the effect that cruelty to animals has on our sympathetic emotions—which greatly help us treat other rational beings appropriately—that we have duties not to be cruel to animals. Yet cruelty and callousness toward animals are not problematic only because they may weaken some of our morally useful emotions. Cruelty and callousness toward animals are problematic also because they oppose our morally useful emotions; these emotions, as part of the perfection of our nature, should be honored, supported, and furthered, unless there are compelling reasons not to do so in particular cases. (shrink)
Genetic engineering evokes a number of objections that are not directed at the negative effects the technique might have on the health and welfare of the modified animals. The concept of animal integrity is often invoked to articulate these kind of objections. Moreover, in reaction to the advent of genetic engineering, the concept has been extended from the level of the individual animal to the level of the genome and of the species. However, the concept of animal integrity was (...) not developed in the context of genetic engineering. Given this external origin, the aim of this paper is to critically examine the assumption that the concept of integrity, including its extensions to the level of the genome and the species, is suitable to articulate and justify moral objections more specifically directed at the genetic engineering of animals. (shrink)
In this paper, I assess Martha Nussbaum's application of the capabilities approach to non-human animals for both its philosophical merits and its potential to affect public policy. I argue that there are currently three main philosophical problems with the theory that need further attention. After discussing these problems, I show how focusing on factory farming would enable Nussbaum to demonstrate the philosophical merits of the capabilities approach as well as to suggest more powerful and effectives changes in our public (...) policies. (shrink)
This essay critically evaluates the theodicies of John Hick, Richard Swinburne and process theism regarding animal suffering and evils. Their positions on animals are found to be flawed and/or inadequate because they cannot explain the mass suffering and unnecessary deaths to animals throughout time. I also offer a positive contribution. That is, God’s putative love for all humans and animals does not entail that he loves every single human and animal. It is very possible that God treats (...) humans and animals similarly in regard to evils. This theory partly explains human tragedies such as the Holocaust and much unnecessary animal and human suffering. (shrink)
This essay traces the history of Jacques Derrida's engagement with the question of the animal and the methodology Derrida follows in his 2008 The Animal That Therefore I Am . As Derrida demonstrates, the history of philosophy is marked from its inception by an attempt to draw a single, indivisible line between humans and all other animals by attributing some capacity to humans (e.g., language, culture, mourning, a relationship to death) and denying it to animals. Derrida thus begins (...) by questioning the supposed fact that animals do not have such and such a capacity or attribute but then quickly turns to questioning the principle by which philosophers have claimed that humans do . In all his work on the animal, therefore, Derrida questions the confidence with which humans attribute certain capacities to themselves while denying them to animals, all in the name of a pervasive and yet repressed violence against the animal world. (shrink)
[Book chapter for _Beastly Morality_ (Jonathan Crane, ed.,) currently under consideration] This essay distinguishes between honor-typical and authoritarian behavior in humans and animals. Whereas authoritarianism concerns hierarchies coordinated by control and obedience, honor concerns rankings of prestige determined by fair contests. Honor-typical behavior is identifiable in non-human species, and is to be expected in polygynous species with non-resource-based mating systems. This picture lends further support to an increasingly popular psychological theory that sees morality as constituted by a variety of (...) moral systems. If moral cognition is pluralistic in this way, then the question of moral agency is better considered in terms of particular moral modes, one of which will be “honor-agency.” The universal principles of honorable conduct suggest a handful of criteria for counting as an honorable agent (human or otherwise), and these criteria can be specified without commitment to any particular account of what it takes to be an agent in general. (shrink)
Such activities as tracking, watching, and photographing animals are frequently presented as morally superior alternatives to hunting, but could they themselves be morally problematic? In this paper I argue that, despite certain differences from the stalking of humans, a strong case can be made for the prima facie wrongness of stalking sentient animals. The chief harm of stalking is the fear and altered patterns of behavior which it forces upon its victims.
Can material Egalitarianism (requiring, for example, the significant promotion of fortune) include animals in the domain of the equality requirement? The problem can be illustrated as follows: If equality of wellbeing is what matters, and normal mice are included in this egalitarian requirement, then normal mice have a much stronger claim to resources than almost any human. This is because normal mice have a much stronger claim to resources than almost any human. This is because their wellbeing is much (...) lower than that of normal humans. Thus, equality of wellbeing requires a massive shift of resources away from most humans to mice. This view, however, seems crazy. I explore this problem and propose a solution. (shrink)
Citizen petitions and legislative bills in seven states in the US have established space and movement limitations for selected species of farm animals. These actions show Americans becoming concerned about the humane treatment of confined farm animals, and willing to use governmental intervention to preclude existing confinement practices. The individual state provisions vary, including the coverage of species. All seven states deal with sow-gestation crates, five states address veal calf crates, and two states’ provisions also apply to battery (...) cages used for egg-laying hens. The actions show citizen and legislative opposition to current animal production practices, and suggest a movement to provide better treatment for farm animals. Accompanying the actions are challenges for animal production industries in remaining competitive while meeting social expectations on the ethical treatment of food animals. While the actions are only a small step in addressing welfare issues, they may be the beginning of a significant movement to do more to address human and animal welfare issues. (shrink)