Society and Animals 19 (1):83-101 (2011)

Authors
Jes Lynning Harfeld
Aalborg University
Abstract
Answers to the question, “What is a farm animal?” often revolve around genetics, physical attributes, and the animals’ functions in agricultural production. The essential and defining characteristics of farm animals transcend these limited models, however, and require an answer that avoids reductionism and encompasses a de-atomizing point of view. Such an answer should promote recognition of animals as beings with extensive mental and social capabilities that outline the extent of each individual animal’s existence and—at the same time—define the animals as parts of wholes that in themselves are more than the sum of their parts and have ethological as well as ethical relevance. To accomplish this, the concepts of both anthropomorphism and sociobiology will be examined, and the article will show how the possibility of understanding animals and their characteristics deeply affects both ethology and philosophy; that is, it has an important influence on our descriptive knowledge of animals, the concept of what animal welfare is and can be, and any normative ethics that follow such knowledge
Keywords sociobiology   animal ethics   philosophy   animal welfare   ethology
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DOI 10.1163/156853011x545547
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References found in this work BETA

What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.

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Telos and the Ethics of Animal Farming.Jes Lynning Harfeld - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (3):691-709.

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