Dominion

Ratio 16 (3):307–317 (2003)
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Abstract

I distinguish two claims about human ‘dominion’ over nature: (1) Humans have the right to supervise, manage, and direct the rest of nature; (2) Humans have a special value, superior to the rest of nature. I discuss some ways of rejecting either or both claims, and point to some surprising consequences of such rejections. Then I compare the ways in which Aristotelianism and sentientism might try to keep hold of both claims. This produces two surprising and unwelcome results for sentientism, and one surprising and welcome result for Aristotelianism (namely, an alliance with Kantianism). And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1.28)

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Sophie Grace Chappell
Open University (UK)

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