"What the Wild Things are: A Critique on Clare Palmer's" What Do We Owe Animals?"

Between the Species 16 (1):6 (2013)
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Abstract

This paper critiques Clare Palmer’s “What do we owe wild animals?” on three grounds. First, it is argued that, Palmer’s opening case study notwithstanding, there are good empirical reasons to think that we should assist domesticated horses and not wild deer. Then, Palmer’s claim that “wildness is not a capacity” is brought into question, and it is argued that wildness connotes certain capacities which wild animals generally have and which domesticated animals generally lack. Lastly, the “supererogation problem” is developed against a version of Palmer’s preferred Contextualist view, which claims that, while her view doesn’t obligate us to eliminate predators and otherwise redesign nature in the name of wild animal welfare, it may nonetheless allow them. Therefore, this view has potentially unsettling environmental implications

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Joel MacClellan
Loyola University, New Orleans

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