Review of Mark Rowlands, Can Animals be Moral? [Book Review]

Metapsychology Online 17 (29) (2013)

Tom McClelland
Cambridge University
In this vivid and engaging book Mark Rowlands asks whether animals are capable of being moral. His answer is a mitigated 'yes', supported by an ambitious and convincing philosophical argument. A great deal of attention has been given to the question of whether animals deserve our moral consideration. Much less has been given to the question of whether animals themselves are moral beings. The dominant view among both philosophers and scientists has been that they are not. The standard position is that animals lack the mental faculties necessary for moral action. Rowlands tries to show that '...the blanket dismissal of the possibility of moral action in animals cannot be sustained...'. He systematically attacks the assumptions behind this entrenched attitude and attempts to show us what kind of moral traits an animal mind could support.
Keywords Animal minds  Moral psychology  Emotion
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