Animals, handicapped children and the tragedy of marginal cases

Journal of Medical Ethics 14 (4):191-193 (1988)

Abstract
There are human beings whose psychological capacities are rivalled or exceeded by many non-human animals; such humans are often referred to as 'marginal cases'. R G Frey has argued that there is no secure, non-arbitrary way of morally distinguishing between marginal humans and non-human animals. Hence, if the benefits of vivisection justify such painful and lethal procedures being performed on animals, so is the vivisection of marginal humans justified. This is a conclusion Frey is driven to with 'great reluctance', but which he can see no way to avoid. This paper points out a feature of the condition of marginal humans unnoticed by Frey and his critics: such humans have suffered a tragic harm. It points towards an analysis of this harm, in terms of counterfactuals holding for marginal humans but not for psychologically equivalent animals. Finally, it discusses the moral implications of the harm that such humans have suffered, and argues that it serves as the basis of a defence for preferring humans to non-humans in cases of morally inescapable conflict.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/jme.14.4.191
Options
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: 46,461
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

Death.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Noûs 4 (1):73-80.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 1985 - Human Studies 8 (4):389-392.
An Examination and Defense of One Argument Concerning Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 1979 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 22 (1-4):189 – 219.
Vivisection, Morals and Medicine.R. G. Frey - 1983 - Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (2):94-97.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Argument From Marginal Cases: Is Species a Relevant Difference.Julia Tanner - 2011 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):225-235.
Speciesism and Loyalty.Mark Bernstein - 1991 - Behavior and Philosophy 19 (1):43 - 59.
Moral Rights and Human Culture.Lisa Bortolotti - 2006 - Ethical Perspectives 13 (4):603-620.
Are Animal Rights Inimical to Human Dignity?Karl Schudt - 2003 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 77:189-203.
Comparing Lives: Rush Rhees on Humans and Animals.Matthew Pianalto - 2011 - Philosophical Investigations 34 (3):287-311.
Animal Rights and the Problem of Proximity.David E. W. Fenner - 1998 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 12 (1):51-61.
A Compassionate Autonomy Alternative to Speciesism.Constance K. Perry - 2001 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 22 (3):237-246.
Species as a Relationship.Julia Tanner - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (4):337-347.
Moral Agency in Other Animals.Paul Shapiro - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4):357-373.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-09-13

Total views
23 ( #407,034 of 2,286,455 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #419,675 of 2,286,455 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature