Moral Status of Animals: Arguments From Having a Soul Revisited

Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (1):1-22 (2022)


In this article, I consider a number of arguments that assume that beings who have immortal souls occupy a special position in the sphere of moral concern. First, I place these arguments in their historical and cultural contexts. Next, I formulate several conditions of adequacy that all such arguments must satisfy. Subsequently, I distinguish two different general kinds of such arguments: Inclusionary arguments attempt to use the immortality of soul as a criterion for either including someone into a sphere of morality while excluding others or, at least, for elevating someone's position within this sphere. Modifying arguments attempt to strengthen or weaken moral considerations that already apply to a being included into the sphere of morality. I argue that, although some modifying arguments may fulfill all conditions of adequacy, they have very little practical importance.

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Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan & Mary Midgley - 1986 - The Personalist Forum 2 (1):67-71.
Animal Liberation.Bill Puka & Peter Singer - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (4):557.
The Grounds of Moral Status.Julie Tannenbaum & Agnieszka Jaworska - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:0-0.
Summa Contra Gentiles.Thomas Aquinas - 1975 - University of Notre Dame Press.

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