Kant on duties regarding nonrational nature


Authors
Onora O'Neill
Cambridge University
Abstract
Kant's ethics, like others, has unavoidable anthropocentric starting points: only humans, or other 'rational natures', can hold obligations. Seemingly this should not make speciesist conclusions unavoidable: might not rational natures have obligations to the non-rational? However, Kant's argument for the unconditional value of rational natures cannot readily be extended to show that all non-human animals have unconditional value, or rights. Nevertheless Kant's speciesism is not thoroughgoing. He does not view non-rational animals as mere items for use. He allows for indirect duties 'with regard to' them which afford welfare but not rights, and can allow for indirect duties 'with regard to' abstract and dispersed aspects of nature, such as biodiversity, species and habitats
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DOI 10.1111/1467-8349.00043
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Kantian Value Realism.Alison Hills - 2008 - Ratio 21 (2):182–200.
Ecosystem Services and the Value of Places.Simon P. James - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):101-113.
Kant's Formula of the End in Itself: Some Recent Debates.Lara Denis - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):244–257.
Abortion and Kant’s Formula of Universal Law.Lara Denis - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):547-579.

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