Colin Allen
University of Pittsburgh
The close kinship between humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans is a central theme among participants in the debate about human treatment of the other apes. Empathy is probably the single most important determinant of actual human moral behavior, including the treatment of nonhuman animals. Given the applied nature of questions about the treatment of captive apes, it is entirely appropriate that the close relationship between us should be highlighted. But the role that relatedness should play in ethical theory is less clear. To the extent that legal and regulatory challenges to keeping apes in captivity are likely to be based on principles of theory, it is important to understand what roles evolutionary theory can play in deriving such principles. The development of ethically correct policies for captivity of animals will depend on taking into account both species-specific and individual differences in the ways that individuals perceive and conceptualize the spaces in which they live, and the choices with which they are presented. A fully evolutionary approach to cognition, a cognitive ethology, that is not just limited to the great apes or to primates is the best hope we have for understanding such perceptions and conceptions.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,159
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

From a Logical Point of View.W. V. O. Quine - 1953 - Harvard University Press.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Ethics and the Science of Animal Minds.Colin Allen - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4):375-394.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
285 ( #33,683 of 2,454,850 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,233 of 2,454,850 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes