Moral Status of Animals

Edited by Nicolas Delon (College of Charleston, New College of Florida)
About this topic
Summary This entry covers work on the theoretical and applied issues surrounding the idea of the moral status of nonhuman animals. Having moral status commonly means being the object of moral consideration and of (direct or indirect) duties. The issues discussed include what sorts of entities can have moral status; what grounds moral status; whether human beings have a distinctive--higher--moral status; whether moral status can be a matter of degree; whether animals can have direct moral status. Also: Is species membership relevant to moral status? Can nonsentient entities have moral status? What is the relation between moral status and welfare? Does moral status involve rights? What does moral status entail regarding our treatment of animals in particular contexts such as biomedical research, farming, hunting, zoos and circuses, and pet keeping, among others?
Key works Clark 1977 Cohen 2009 DeGrazia 1996 Diamond 1978 Gruen 2011 Midgley 1983 Regan 2004 Sapontzis 1987 Singer 1977 Singer 1979 Warren 1997
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  1. The Moral Addressor Account of Moral Agency.Dorna Behdadi - manuscript
    According to the practice-focused approach to moral agency, a participant stance towards an entity is warranted by the extent to which this entity qualifies as an apt target of ascriptions of moral responsibility, such as blame. Entities who are not eligible for such reactions are exempted from moral responsibility practices, and thus denied moral agency. I claim that many typically exempted cases may qualify as moral agents by being eligible for a distinct participant stance. When we participate in moral responsibility (...)
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  2. Nonhuman Self-Investment Value.Gary Comstock - manuscript
    Guardians of companion animals killed wrongfully in the U.S. historically receive compensatory judgments reflecting the animal’s economic value. As animals are property in torts law, this value typically is the animal’s fair market value—which is often zero. But this is only the animal’s value, as it were, to a stranger and, in light of the fact that many guardians value their animals at rates far in excess of fair market value, legislatures and courts have begun to recognize a second value, (...)
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  3. (Draft) Cows, crickets and clams: On the alleged 'vegan' obligation to eat different kinds of meat.Benjamin Davies - manuscript
    Vegans do not eat meat. This statement seems so obvious that one might be tempted to claim that it is analytically true. Yet several authors argue that the underlying logic of veganism warrants – perhaps even demands – eating meat. I begin by considering an important principle that has been important in motivating vegan meat-eating, related to an obligation to reduce or minimise harm. I offer an alternative, rights-based view, and suggest that while this might support an obligation to eat (...)
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  4. Emotionless Animals? Constructionist Theories of Emotion Beyond the Human Case.Jonathan Birch - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
    Could emotions be a uniquely human phenomenon? One prominent theory in emotion science, Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “Theory of Constructed Emotion” (TCE), suggests they might be. The source of the sceptical challenge is that TCE links emotions to abstract concepts tracking socio-normative expectations, and other animals are unlikely to have such concepts. Barrett’s own response to the sceptical challenge is to relativize emotion to the perspective of an interpreter, but this is unpromising. A more promising response may be to amend the (...)
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  5. Letting animals off the hook.Nicolas Delon - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    A growing literature argues that animals can act for moral reasons without being responsible. I argue that the literature often fails to maintain a clear distinction between moral behavior and moral agency, and I formulate a dilemma: either animals are less moral or they are more responsible than the literature suggests. If animals can respond to moral reasons, they are responsible according to an influential view of moral responsibility–Quality of Will. But if they are responsible, as some argue, costly implications (...)
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  6. Josh Milburn, Food, Justice, and Animals: Feeding the World Respectfully(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023), pp. 224. [REVIEW]Nicolas Delon - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-3.
  7. Is Moral Status Good for You?Thomas Douglas - forthcoming - In Stephen Clarke, Hazem Zohny & Julian Savulescu (eds.), Rethinking Moral Status. Oxford, UK:
    Should we cognitively alter animals in ways that might change their moral status? There has been some discussion of this question. For example, Chan (2009) and Chan and Harris (2001) consider whether we should radically enhance the cognitive capacities of animals, while Thompson (2008) and Shriver (2009) argue that we should in fact substantially disenhance some animals to protect them from suffering. More controversially, some have countenanced radical and possibly moral status-altering transformations of human persons. ... One question relevant to (...)
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  8. Utilitarianism and the Moral Status of Animals: A Psychological Perspective.François Jaquet, Manon Delphine Gouiran & Florian Cova - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-19.
    Recent years have seen a growing interest among psychologists for debates in moral philosophy. Moral psychologists have investigated the causal origins of the opposition between utilitarian and deontological judgments and the psychological underpinnings of people’s beliefs about the moral status of animals. One issue that remains underexplored in this research area is the relationship between people’s disposition to engage in utilitarian thinking and their attitudes towards animals. This gap is unfortunate considering the tight philosophical connection between utilitarianism and the claim (...)
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  9. Is Biocentrism Dead? Two Live Problems for Life-Centered Ethics.Joel MacClellan - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-22.
    Biocentrism, a prominent view in environmental ethics, is the notion that all and only individual biological organisms have moral status, which is to say that their good ought to be considered for its own sake by moral agents. I argue that biocentrism suffers two serious problems: the Origin Problem and the Normativity Problem. Biocentrism seeks to avoid the absurdity that artifacts have moral status on the basis that organisms have naturalistic origins whereas artifacts do not. The Origin Problem contends that, (...)
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  10. Porphyry on the Value of Non-Human Animals.Patricia Marechal - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Philosophy.
    This paper argues that Book 3 of Porphyry’s De abstinentia contains an overlooked argument in favor of vegetarianism for the sake of non-human animals themselves. The argument runs as follows: animals are essentially sentient creatures. Sentience (αἴσθησις) allows them to discern what is good for their survival and what is destructive to them, so that they can pursue the former and avoid the latter. As a result, animals (human and non-human) have preferences, desires, and hopes. Having purposeful strivings that can (...)
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  11. Entomophagy: What, if anything, do we owe to insects?Angela K. Martin - forthcoming - In Cheryl Abbate & Christopher Bobier (eds.), New Omnivorism and Strict Veganism: Critical Perspectives. Routledge.
    In this chapter, Angela Martin explores what moral agents owe to insects as a potential food source. Given that no scientific consensus has yet been reached on the question of whether or not insects are sentient, she investigates three assumptions on that head, along with their moral implications: i) the view that insects are definitely not sentient; ii) the view that there is uncertainty about insect sentience; and iii) the view that insects are definitely sentient. Martin argues that under assumptions (...)
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  12. An African Theory of Moral Status: A Relational Alternative to Individualism and Holism (repr.).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Kenneth Abudu, Kevin Behrens & Elvis Imafidon (eds.), African Philosophy and Deep Ecology. Routledge.
    Reprint of an article first published in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (2012).
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  13. Relational Theories of Moral Status (tentative title).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics.
    Critical notice of Nancy Jecker and Caesar Atuire's _What Is a Person?_, with some focus on their relational account of moral status as compared to my own.
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  14. Metz’s Relational Moral Theory and Environmental Ethics.Darrel Moellendorf - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-13.
    Metz’s contribution to environmental ethics is a novel theory of moral status, which he argues explains the intuition that although we have direct moral duties to some nonhuman animals, our duties to fellow human beings are always weightier. The theory takes the moral status of an individual to depend on it being the subject and object of friendly relations with human. This paper argues that the account of moral status explains the intuition about the existence and relative weight of duties (...)
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  15. Kantian Animal Moral Psychology: Empirical Markers for Animal Morality.Erik Nelson - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    I argue that a Kantian inspired investigation into animal morality is both a plausible and coherent research program. To show that such an investigation is possible, I argue that philosophers, such as Korsgaard, who argue that reason demarcates nonhuman animals from the domain of moral beings are equivocating in their use of the term ‘rationality’. Kant certainly regards rationality as necessary for moral responsibility from a practical standpoint, but his distinction between the noumenal and phenomenal means that he can only (...)
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  16. "Human" Dignity Beyond the Human.Matthew Wray Perry - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.
    Many approaches to dignity endorse the Human Scope Thesis (HST), according to which almost all humans and almost only humans have dignity. I argue that justifications for this thesis are doomed to fail. Proponents of the HST can be broadly divided into two camps, according to how they defend this thesis against the Scope Challenge. This challenge states that there is no non-arbitrary way of restricting the scope of dignity that includes almost all and almost only humans. Naturalistic Accounts attempt (...)
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  17. Review of Carol J. Adams, Alice Crary, and Lori Gruen (eds.) The Good It Promises, The Harm It Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism, 2023, Oxford: Oxford University Press. [REVIEW]Richard Pettigrew - forthcoming - Mind.
    Effective altruists (EAs) seek to persuade the globally wealthy to donate a proportion of their income to do good, and specifically to donate it to those charit.
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  18. Ubuntu and the Problem of Belonging.Olusegun Steven Samuel - forthcoming - Ethics, Policy and Environment.
    This paper proposes an original ubuntu-inspired account of human-animal moral status for engaging the problem of belongingness—the ethico-ecological community view. This account embodies two integrated features: locatedness and relationality. While locatedness prompts us to attend to the embeddedness of beings in the built and natural environment, relationality allows the discussion to focus on human-nonhuman interdependencies. I argue that a deep sense of both features prompts us to move the moral status conversation away from capacities to a non-capacity-based approach, thereby helping (...)
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  19. Animus: human-embodied animals.Julian Savulescu & Tsutomu Sawai - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics.
    We review recent research to introduce human brain organoids into the brains of infant rats. This research shows these organoids integrate and function to affect behaviour in rats. We argue that this raises issues of moral status that will imminently arise and must be addressed through functional studies of these new life forms. We situate this research in the broader context of the biological revolution, arguing we already have the technological power to create fully human embodied animals. This raises profound, (...)
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  20. Toward a Moderate Hierarchical View About the Moral Status of Animals.Stefan Sencerz - forthcoming - Etyka.
    In this essay, I develop a moderate hierarchical position about the moral status of animals that is based on two factors: on the level of mental development of a being who is affected and on the significance of the interests that are affected. I argue that this view accommodates two different sets of moral intuitions. On one hand, it explains why, in general, humans have the special moral standing that is typically attributed to us. On the other hand, it also (...)
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  21. The moral status of conscious subjects.Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - In Stephen Clarke, Hazem Zohny & Julian Savulescu (eds.), Rethinking Moral Status.
    The chief themes of this discussion are as follows. First, we need a theory of the grounds of moral status that could guide practical considerations regarding how to treat the wide range of potentially conscious entities with which we are acquainted – injured humans, cerebral organoids, chimeras, artificially intelligent machines, and non-human animals. I offer an account of phenomenal value that focuses on the structure and sophistication of phenomenally conscious states at a time and over time in the mental lives (...)
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  22. On the Idea of Degrees of Moral Status.Dick Timmer - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-19.
    A central question in contemporary ethics and political philosophy concerns which entities have moral status. In this article, I provide a detailed analysis of the view that moral status comes in degrees. I argue that degrees of moral status can be specified along two dimensions: (i) the weight of the reason to protect an entity’s morally significant rights and interests; and/or (ii) the rights and interests that are considered morally significant. And I explore some of the complexities that arise when (...)
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  23. " Animals Matter": Reflecting on the Work of Marc Bekoff.Donna Yarri, Graham Harvey, Jay McDaniel & Nancy Howell - forthcoming - Zygon.
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  24. Inclusive dignity.Pablo Gilabert - 2024 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 23 (1):22-46.
    The idea of dignity is pervasive in political discourse. It is central to human rights theory and practice, and it features regularly in conceptions of social justice as well as in the social movements they seek to understand or orient. However, dignity talk has been criticized for leading to problematic exclusion. Critics challenge it for undermining our recognition of the rights of non-human animals and of many human individuals (such as children, the elderly, and people with disabilities). I argue that, (...)
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  25. Two Distinctions About Eating Animals.A. G. Holdier - 2024 - Between the Species 27 (1).
    In this paper I describe two distinctions about what “eating animals” entails which are often confused in conversations or arguments aimed against meat-based diets and try to show how both distinctions, on their own lights, ultimately support a concern for all fellow creatures, regardless of species or other biological categories. The distinctions in question are: the distinction between moral and nonmoral actions, presumptions about which serve to define whether or not particular topics (like meat consumption) deserve moral consideration whatsoever, and (...)
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  26. Le pire des maux. Éthique et ontologie du spécisme.François Jaquet - 2024 - Paris: Éliott Éditions.
    Il est assez rare qu’un concept philosophique s’échappe de l’arène académique. C’est pourtant le cas du concept de spécisme, qui a fait une entrée remarquée dans la sphère publique au cours de la dernière décennie. Il est désormais au cœur du débat de société sur nos devoirs envers les animaux non humains. Hélas, ce concept et les enjeux qu’il soulève sont souvent mal compris. Nombreux sont les auteurs qui contestent sa légitimité alors qu’ils le maitrisent mal. D’autres l’utilisent plus volontiers (...)
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  27. Kantian Ethics and our Duties to Nonhuman Animals.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2024 - Between the Species 27 (1):82-107.
    Many take Kantian ethics to founder when it comes to our duties to animals. In this paper, I advocate a novel approach to this problem. The paper is divided into three sections. In the first, I canvass various passages from Kant in order to set up the problem. In the second, I introduce a novel approach to this problem. In the third, I defend my approach from various objections. By way of preview: I advocate rejecting the premise that nonhuman animals (...)
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  28. Defending a Relational Account of Moral Status.Thaddeus Metz - 2024 - In Mbih Jerome Tosam & Erasmus Masitera (eds.), African Agrarian Philosophy. Springer. pp. 105-124.
    For the more than a decade, I have advanced an account of what makes persons, animals, and other beings entitled to moral treatment for their own sake that is informed by characteristically African ideas about dignity, a great chain of being, and community. Roughly according to this account, a being has a greater moral status, the more it is capable of communing (as a subject) or of us communing with it (as an object). I have mainly argued that this characteristically (...)
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  29. Better Descartes than Aristotle: Talking About Those Who Deny Moral Consideration to Animals.Francesco Allegri - 2023 - Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism 11 (2):85-91.
  30. Rawls and Animal Moral Personality.Guy Baldwin - 2023 - Animals 13:1238.
    The relationship between animal rights and contractarian theories of justice such as that of Rawls has long been vexed. In this article, I contribute to the debate over the possibility of inclusion of animals in Rawls’s theory of justice by critiquing the rationale he gives for their omission: that they do not possess moral personality. Contrary to Rawls’s assumptions, it appears that some animals may possess the moral powers that comprise moral personality, albeit to a lesser extent than most humans. (...)
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  31. Nonhuman Moral Agency: A Practice-Focused Exploration of Moral Agency in Nonhuman Animals and Artificial Intelligence.Dorna Behdadi - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Gothenburg
    Can nonhuman animals and artificial intelligence (AI) entities be attributed moral agency? The general assumption in the philosophical literature is that moral agency applies exclusively to humans since they alone possess free will or capacities required for deliberate reflection. Consequently, only humans have been taken to be eligible for ascriptions of moral responsibility in terms of, for instance, blame or praise, moral criticism, or attributions of vice and virtue. Animals and machines may cause harm, but they cannot be appropriately ascribed (...)
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  32. Dimensions of Consciousness and the Moral Status of Brain Organoids.J. Lomax Boyd & Nethanel Lipshitz - 2023 - Neuroethics 17 (1):1-15.
    Human brain organoids (HBOs) are novel entities that may exhibit unique forms of cognitive potential. What moral status, if any, do they have? Several authors propose that consciousness may hold the answer to this question. Others identify various _kinds of_ consciousness as crucially important for moral consideration, while leaving open the challenge of determining whether HBOs have them. This paper aims to make progress on these questions in two ways. First, it proposes a framework for thinking about the moral status (...)
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  33. How to do robots with words: a performative view of the moral status of humans and nonhumans.Mark Coeckelbergh - 2023 - Ethics and Information Technology 25 (3):1-9.
    Moral status arguments are typically formulated as descriptive statements that tell us something about the world. But philosophy of language teaches us that language can also be used performatively: we do things with words and use words to try to get others to do things. Does and should this theory extend to what we say about moral status, and what does it mean? Drawing on Austin, Searle, and Butler and further developing relational views of moral status, this article explores what (...)
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  34. Moral Uncertainty and Our Relationships with Unknown Minds.John Danaher - 2023 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 32 (4):482-495.
    We are sometimes unsure of the moral status of our relationships with other entities. Recent case studies in this uncertainty include our relationships with artificial agents (robots, assistant AI, etc.), animals, and patients with “locked-in” syndrome. Do these entities have basic moral standing? Could they count as true friends or lovers? What should we do when we do not know the answer to these questions? An influential line of reasoning suggests that, in such cases of moral uncertainty, we need meta-moral (...)
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  35. Relational nonhuman personhood.Nicolas Delon - 2023 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):569-587.
    This article defends a relational account of personhood. I argue that the structure of personhood consists of dyadic relations between persons who can wrong or be wronged by one another, even if some of them lack moral competence. I draw on recent work on directed duties to outline the structure of moral communities of persons. The upshot is that we can construct an inclusive theory of personhood that can accommodate nonhuman persons based on shared community membership. I argue that, once (...)
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  36. Persons, Animals, and Psychological Unity.Molly Gardner - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1197-1209.
    In this paper I consider whether psychological unity can moderate moral status. I first explicate a hybrid view on which non-person animals have a utilitarian moral status and persons have a deontological moral status. I then discuss Jeff McMahan's (2002) concept of psychological unity, and I motivate the view that differences in psychological unity might affect the strength of our reasons against harming different individuals. Ultimately, however, I reject the claim that differences in moral status can be explained by differences (...)
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  37. Morality, Modality, and Humans with Deep Cognitive Impairments.William Gildea - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (2):546-568.
    Philosophers struggle to explain why human beings with deep cognitive impairments have a higher moral status than certain non-human animals. Modal personism promises to solve this problem. It claims that humans who lack the capacities of “personhood” and the potential to develop them nonetheless could have been persons. I argue that modal personism has poor prospects because it's hard to see how we could offer a plausible account of modal personhood. I search for an adequate understanding of modal personhood by (...)
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  38. Of Mice-Rats and Pig-Men: Ethical Issues in the Development of Human/Nonhuman Chimeras.Mackenzie Graham - 2023 - In Erick Valdés & Juan Alberto Lecaros (eds.), Handbook of Bioethical Decisions. Volume I: Decisions at the Bench. Springer Verlag. pp. 527-547.
    The modern biological definition of a chimera is a single organism composed of cells with multiple distinct genotypes. Chimeras combining human and nonhuman cells are invaluable for various kinds of research, providing a platform for the study of human cell development while avoiding the ethical issues involved in conducting this research on human subjects. There is also the possibility that human/nonhuman chimeras could one day be used to produce human organs for transplant. Yet human/nonhuman chimeras raise a number of unique (...)
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  39. Against Moorean Defences of Speciesism.François Jaquet - 2023 - In Hugo Viciana, Antonio Gaitán & Fernando Aguiar (eds.), Experiments in Moral and Political Philosophy. Routledge.
    Common sense has it that animals matter considerably less than humans; the welfare and suffering of a cow, a chicken or a fish are important but not as much as the welfare and suffering of a human being. Most animal ethicists reject this “speciesist” view as mere prejudice. In their opinion, there is no difference between humans and other animals that could justify such unequal consideration. In the opposite camp, advocates of speciesism have long tried to identify a difference that (...)
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  40. What If They Were Humans? Non-Ideal Theory in the Shelter.François Jaquet - 2023 - In Valéry Giroux, Angie Pepper & Kristin Voigt (eds.), The Ethics of Animal Shelters. New York, US: Oxford University Press.
    Our societies are marked by anthropocentrism: most people treat animals in ways in which they would by no means treat fellow humans. One might nonetheless expect this prejudice to be much less prevalent in animal shelters since these places are created for the very sake of non-humans and generally managed by people who truly care about animal welfare. This chapter questions this expectation. It discusses three practices that are widespread in animal shelters and yet could be suspected of anthropocentrism: killing (...)
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  41. On the Legal Status of Human Cerebral Organoids: Lessons from Animal Law.Joshua Jowitt - 2023 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 32 (4):572-581.
    This paper will ask whether the legal status presently afforded to nonhuman animals ought to influence regulatory debates concerning human cerebral organoids. The New York Courts recently refused to grant a writ of habeas corpus to Happy the Elephant as she was property rather than a legal person while at the same time accepting that she is a moral patient deserving of rights protection. An undesirable situation has therefore arisen in which the law holds a being with moral status to (...)
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  42. Human Brain Organoids: Why There Can Be Moral Concerns If They Grow Up in the Lab and Are Transplanted or Destroyed.Andrea Lavazza & Massimo Reichlin - 2023 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 32 (4):582-596.
    Human brain organoids (HBOs) are three-dimensional biological entities grown in the laboratory in order to recapitulate the structure and functions of the adult human brain. They can be taken to be novel living entities for their specific features and uses. As a contribution to the ongoing discussion on the use of HBOs, the authors identify three sets of reasons for moral concern. The first set of reasons regards the potential emergence of sentience/consciousness in HBOs that would endow them with a (...)
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  43. Nonhuman Animals and Epistemic Injustice.Andrew Lopez - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 25 (1).
    In this paper, I argue that nonhuman animals can be subject to epistemic injustice. I consider Miranda Fricker’s (2007) account of the nature of the harm of epistemic injustice and highlight that it requires that a knower be invested in being recognized as a knower. I argue that a focus on know-how, rather than testimony or concepts for self-understanding and communication, can serve to highlight how nonhuman animals can suffer epistemic injustice without an investment in recognition, by focusing on distributive (...)
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  44. The Scientific Study of Consciousness Cannot and Should Not Be Morally Neutral.Matan Mazor, Simon Brown, Anna Ciaunica, Athena Demertzi, Johannes Fahrenfort, Nathan Faivre, Jolien C. Francken, Dominique Lamy, Bigna Lenggenhager, Michael Moutoussis, Marie-Christine Nizzi, Roy Salomon, David Soto, Timo Stein & Nitzan Lubianiker - 2023 - Perspectives on Psychological Science 18 (3):535-543.
    A target question for the scientific study of consciousness is how dimensions of consciousness, such as the ability to feel pain and pleasure or reflect on one’s own experience, vary in different states and animal species. Considering the tight link between consciousness and moral status, answers to these questions have implications for law and ethics. Here we point out that given this link, the scientific community studying consciousness may face implicit pressure to carry out certain research programs or interpret results (...)
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  45. Defending a Communal Account of Human Dignity.Thaddeus Metz - 2023 - In Motsamai Molefe & Christopher Allsobrook (eds.), Human Dignity in African Thought. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 23-42.
    For more than ten years, I have advanced a conception of human dignity informed by ideas about community salient in the African philosophical tradition. According to it, an individual has a dignity if she is by her nature able to commune with others and to be communed with by them. I have argued that this conception of dignity grounded on our communal nature not only helps to make good foundational sense of many characteristically African moral prescriptions, but also constitutes a (...)
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  46. Defending a Relational Account of Moral Status.Thaddeus Metz - 2023 - In Mbih Jerome Tosam & Erasmus Masitera (eds.), African Agrarian Philosophy. Springer Verlag. pp. 105-124.
    For the more than a decade, I have advanced an account of what makes persons, animals, and other beings entitled to moral treatment for their own sake that is informed by characteristically African ideas about dignity, a great chain of being, and community. Roughly according to this account, a being has a greater moral status, the more it is capable of communing (as a subject) or of us communing with it (as an object). I have mainly argued that this characteristically (...)
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  47. Introduction to the Special Section.Franklin G. Miller - 2023 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 66 (1):1-2.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Introduction to the Special SectionFranklin G. MillerHappy is a female elephant who has been confined at the Bronx Zoo for over 40 years. In 2018 the Nonhuman Rights Project sued the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, seeking habeas corpus for Happy in order to release her to an elephant sanctuary. Numerous amicus curiae briefs were filed in favor and against the petition on behalf of Happy. The (...)
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  48. Taking Into Account Sentient Non-Humans in AI Ambitious Value Learning: Sentientist Coherent Extrapolated Volition.Adrià Moret - 2023 - Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness 10 (02):309-334.
    Ambitious value learning proposals to solve the AI alignment problem and avoid catastrophic outcomes from a possible future misaligned artificial superintelligence (such as Coherent Extrapolated Volition [CEV]) have focused on ensuring that an artificial superintelligence (ASI) would try to do what humans would want it to do. However, present and future sentient non-humans, such as non-human animals and possible future digital minds could also be affected by the ASI’s behaviour in morally relevant ways. This paper puts forward Sentientist Coherent Extrapolated (...)
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  49. Death as the Cessation of an Organism and the Moral Status Alternative.Piotr Grzegorz Nowak - 2023 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 48 (5):504-518.
    The mainstream concept of death—the biological one—identifies death with the cessation of an organism. In this article, I challenge the mainstream position, showing that there is no single well-established concept of an organism and no universal concept of death in biological terms. Moreover, some of the biological views on death, if applied in the context of bedside decisions, might imply unacceptable consequences. I argue the moral concept of death—one similar to that of Robert Veatch—overcomes such difficulties. The moral view identifies (...)
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  50. Disentangling Human Nature from Moral Status: Lessons for and from Philip K. Dick.James Okapal - 2023 - Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy 6.
    A common interpretation of Philip K. Dick’s texts _Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?_ and _We Can Build You_ is that they attempt to answer the question “What does it mean to be human?” -/- Unfortunately, these interpretations fail to deal with the fact that the term “human” has both metaphysical and moral connotations. Metaphysical meanings associated with theories of human nature and moral meanings associated with theories of moral status are thus blurred in the novels and in the literature (...)
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