Why Speciesism is Wrong: A Response to Kagan

Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (1):31-35 (2016)


In Animal Liberation I argued that we commonly ignore or discount the interests of sentient members of other species merely because they are not human, and that this bias in favour of members of our own species is, in important respects, parallel to the biases that lie behind racism and sexism. Shelly Kagan, in ‘What's Wrong With Speciesism’ misconstrues this argument, as well as the principle of equal consideration of interests, which I offer as an alternative to speciesism. Kagan also offers, as an alternative explanation of, and possible justification for, our discounting the interests of nonhuman animals, the suggestion that your interests count more if you are a member of a species whose typical adult members are persons. Although this view is not a form of speciesism, Kagan seems not to be aware of the fact that it is a view commonly defended by advocates of natural law ethics, on which there is already an extensive critical literature

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,856

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

217 (#54,382)

6 months
9 (#81,155)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

Defining Speciesism.Oscar Horta & Frauke Albersmeier - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (11):1-9.
You're Probably Not Really A Speciesist.Travis Timmerman - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):683-701.
Is Speciesism Wrong by Definition?François Jaquet - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (3):447-458.
Ecological Justice and the Extinction Crisis: Giving Living Beings Their Due.Anna Wienhues - 2020 - Bristol, Vereinigtes Königreich: Bristol University Press.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Hume and Our Treatment of Animals.Monica L. Gerrek - 2004 - Essays in Philosophy 5 (2):13.
Against Strong Speciesism.Donald Graft - 1997 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (2):107–118.
What is Speciesism?Oscar Horta - 2010 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (3):243-266.
Is Speciesism Opposed to Liberationism?Tzachi Zamir - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (4):465-475.
The Origin of Speciesism.Hugh LaFollette & Niall Shanks - 1996 - Philosophy 71 (275):41-.
Moving Mountains: Variations on a Theme by Shelly Kagan.Victor Tadros - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (2):393-405.
Modal Personhood and Moral Status: A Reply to Kagan's Proposal.David DeGrazia - 2016 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (1):22-25.
A Compassionate Autonomy Alternative to Speciesism.Constance K. Perry - 2001 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 22 (3):237-246.
Against "Humanism": Speciesism, Personhood, and Preference.Simon Cushing - 2003 - Journal of Social Philosophy 34 (4):556–571.
The Scope of the Argument From Species Overlap.Oscar Horta - 2014 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (2):142-154.