On the Idea of Degrees of Moral Status

Journal of Value Inquiry:1-19 (forthcoming)
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A central question in contemporary ethics and political philosophy concerns which entities have moral status. In this article, I provide a detailed analysis of the view that moral status comes in degrees. I argue that degrees of moral status can be specified along two dimensions: (i) the weight of the reason to protect an entity’s morally significant rights and interests; and/or (ii) the rights and interests that are considered morally significant. And I explore some of the complexities that arise when we link degrees of moral status to the weight of reasons to protect bundles and/or the content and size of these bundles, in particular regarding the attribution of moral status to nonparadigmatic entities (e.g. people with severe cognitive disabilities, children, embryos and foetuses, robots, non-human animals, ecosystems, and rivers).

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Dick Timmer
Dortmund University

Citations of this work

Better to be a Pig Dissatisfied than a Plant Satisfied.Ethan C. Terrill & Walter Veit - 2024 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 37 (4):1-17.

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