The Animal Is Present: The Ethics of Animal Use in Contemporary Art

Anthony Cross
Texas State University
In recent years, an increasing number of contemporary artists have incorporated live animals into their work. Although this development has attracted a great deal of attention in the artworld and among animal rights activists, it has not been much discussed in the philosophy of art—which is quite remarkable, given the serious ethical and artistic questions that these artworks prompt. I focus on answering two such questions. First, is the use of animals in these artworks ethically objectionable? Or are such artworks instead morally permissible or even laudable? Second, what might be the distinctive value or good of incorporating animals into artworks in this way? In response to both questions, I argue that one distinctive value of some of the artworks I discuss is their ability to facilitate a relationship of moral concern and respect on the part of an audience toward the animals that are a part of the artwork. Insofar as artworks facilitate such relationships, they are not simply artistically important; they are also, to that extent, morally good.
Keywords Aesthetics  Philosophy of Art  Animal Ethics  Environmental Aesthetics  Animal Rights  Art and Ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/jaac.12587
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,928
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

Zoo Animals as Specimens, Zoo Animals as Friends.Abigail Levin - 2015 - Environmental Philosophy 12 (1):21-44.
Recognition, Respect.Allen Wood - 2010 - In John Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics. Routledge.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Animal Ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy.Elisa Aaltola & John Hadley (eds.) - 2014 - Rowman & Littlefield International.
Ethics of Animal Use. [REVIEW]Gregory S. McElwain - 2009 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 22 (3):291-293.
Animal Ethics.Clare Palmer & Peter Sandoe - 2011 - In Michael Appleby, Barry Hughes, Joy Mench & Anna Ollson (eds.), Animal Welfare. CABI International. pp. 1-12.
The Animal Ethics Reader (2nd Edition).Ramona Cristina Ilea - 2009 - Teaching Philosophy 32 (1):83-86.
Necessary Conditions for Morally Responsible Animal Research.David Degrazia & Jeff Sebo - 2015 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (4):420-430.


Added to PP index

Total views
15 ( #461,861 of 2,319,058 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
15 ( #47,881 of 2,319,058 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature