Hobbesian Justification for Animal Rights

Environmental Philosophy 8 (2):23-46 (2011)

Abstract

Hobbes’s political and ethical theories are rarely viewed as places by which those who protect the weak seek refuge. It would seem odd, then, to suggest that such a theory might be able to protect the weakest among us—non-human animals. In this paper, however, I will defend the possibility of a Hobbesian justification for animal rights. The Hobbesian response to the problem of compliance allows contractarianism to extend normative protection to animals. Such protection, as I will argue, has a similar justificational foundation as the protection we offer other humans

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Shane Courtland
University of Minnesota, Duluth

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