More than twenty years after its original publication, The Case for Animal Rights is an acknowledged classic of moral philosophy, and its author is recognized as the intellectual leader of the animal rights movement. In a new and fully considered preface, Regan responds to his critics and defends the book's revolutionary position.
In recent work, economist Yew-Kwang Ng suggests strategies for improving animal welfare within the confines of institutions such as the meat industry. Although I argue that Ng is wrong not to advocate abolition, I do find his position concerning wild animals to be compelling. Anyone who takes the interests of animals seriously should also accept a cautious commitment to intervention in the wild.
It is a curious fact about mainstream discussions of animal rights that they are dominated by consequentialist defenses thereof, when consequentialism in general has been on the wane in other areas of moral philosophy. In this paper, I describe an alternative, non‐consequentialist ethical framework and argue that it grants animals more expansive rights than consequentialist proponents of animal rights typically grant. The cornerstone of this non‐consequentialist framework is the thought that the virtuous agent is s/he who has the (...) stable and dominating disposition to treat all conscious animals, including non‐human conscious animals, as ends and not mere means. (shrink)
A combined psychological-epistemological study of the blocks that stand in the way of the human recognition of the sentience and legal rights of non-human animals. Originally published in the Lewis and Clark law journal, Animal Law, and subsequently translated into German and into Portuguese.
Researchers have converged on the idea that a pragmatic understanding of communication can shed important light on the evolution of language. Accordingly, animal communication scientists have been keen to adopt insights from pragmatics research. Some authors couple their appeal to pragmatic aspects of communication with the claim that there are fundamental asymmetries between signalers and receivers in non-human animals. For example, in the case of primate vocal calls, signalers are said to produce signals unintentionally and mindlessly, whereas receivers are (...) thought to engage in contextual interpretation to derive the significance of signals. We argue that claims about signaler-receiver asymmetries are often confused. This is partly because their authors conflate two conceptions of pragmatics, which generate different accounts of the explanatory target for accounts of the evolution of language. Here we distinguish these conceptions, in order to help specify more precisely the proper explanatory target for language evolution research. (shrink)
Animal ethics committees (AECs) appeal to utilitarian principles in their justification of animal experiments. Although AECs do not grant rights to animals, they do accept that animals have moral standing and should not be unnecessarily harmed. Although many appeal to utilitarian arguments in the justification of animal experiments, I argue that AECs routinely fall short of the requirements needed for such justification in a variety of ways. I argue that taking the moral status of animals seriously—even if (...) this falls short of granting rights to animals—should lead to a thorough revision or complete elimination of many of the current practices in animal experimentation. (shrink)
This chapter introduces ans discusses different views concerning our duties towards animals. First, we explain why we should engage in reasoning about animal ethics, rather than relying on intuitions or feelings alone. Secondly, we present and discuss five different kinds of views about the nature of our duties to animals. These are: contractarianism, utilitarianism, animal rights views, contextual views and what we call a "respect for nature" view. Finally, we briefly consider whether it is possible to combine elements (...) from the views presented, and how to make up one’s mind. (shrink)
The article investigates the possibilities of phenomenology to contribute to the study of animal behaviour, and, respectively, asks how and on what grounds phenomenology can benefit from the research done within empirical sciences. The theoretical point of departure is Maurice Merleau-Ponty's The Structure of Behavior and the essay "The Metaphysical in Man".
A study of the problem of animal souls as treated by Pierre Bayle in his article on Rorarius in the Dictionnaire. Early modern philosophers, if they rejected dualism, tended—as Bayle shows—to be driven either to materialism or to panpsychism.
The end of human history is an event that has been foreseen or announced by both messianics and dialecticians. But who is the protagonist of that history that is coming—or has come—to a close? What is man? How did he come on the scene? And how has he maintained his privileged place as the master of, or first among, the animals? In The Open, contemporary Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben considers the ways in which the “human” has been thought of as (...) either a distinct and superior type of animal, or a kind of being that is essentially different from animal altogether. In an argument that ranges from ancient Greek, Christian, and Jewish texts to twentieth-century thinkers such as Heidegger, Benjamin, and Kojève, Agamben examines the ways in which the distinction between man and animal has been manufactured by the logical presuppositions of Western thought, and he investigates the profound implications that the man/animal distinction has had for disciplines as seemingly disparate as philosophy, law, anthropology, medicine, and politics. (shrink)
For many people "animal rights" suggests campaigns against factory farms, vivisection or other aspects of our woeful treatment of animals. Zoopolis moves beyond this familiar terrain, focusing not on what we must stop doing to animals, but on how we can establish positive and just relationships with different types of animals.
Seventy-five adults who reported witnessing at least 1 animal being killed inhumanely participated in a study of 5 measures of empathy from the Interpersonal Reactivity Index and the Animal Attitude Scale : Perspective Taking , Fantasy , Emotional Concern , Personal Distress , and Animal Attitudes . Females showed greater sensitivity on a 2-way MANOVA with Sex and Witnessing Killing as independent variables. Individuals who witnessed multiple killings were higher on PT and lower on PD scales. Lower (...) PD for those who witnessed multiple killings suggests hardening or habituation related to exposure. Alternatively, they may lack resistance to involvement in situations leading to animal violence. Higher PT scores related to multiple killings may indicate a natural leaning toward the cognitive—rather than affective—or dissociation between cognitive and affective. A shift to the cognitive, as a defense mechanism, suggests a dissociation hypothesis. Implications extend to the need for refined research in the developmental sequence of animal abuse and empathy, and humane education. (shrink)
This book provides an overview of the current debates about the nature and extent of our moral obligations to animals. Which, if any, uses of animals are morally wrong, which are morally permissible and why? What, if any, moral obligations do we, individually and as a society, have towards animals and why? How should animals be treated? Why? We will explore the most influential and most developed answers to these questions – given by philosophers, scientists, and animal advocates and (...) their critics – to try to determine which positions are supported by the best moral reasons. (shrink)
Geography, as a discipline, has provided significant leadership in explicating the history and cultural construction of human and nonhuman animal relations, as well as their gendered and racialized character and their economic embeddedness. This work must continue. There are wide areas of barely touched terrain in comparative cultural analyses, economies of animal bodies, and the geographical history of human-animal relations that need articulation and examination. The struggles between groups to create their “places,” livelihoods, and future visions also (...) will be struggles to impose particular narratives and representations as the correct interpretation. (shrink)
Philosophers and cognitive scientists have worried that research on animal mind-reading faces a ‘logical problem’: the difficulty of experimentally determining whether animals represent mental states (e.g. seeing) or merely the observable evidence (e.g. line-of-gaze) for those mental states. The most impressive attempt to confront this problem has been mounted recently by Robert Lurz. However, Lurz' approach faces its own logical problem, revealing this challenge to be a special case of the more general problem of distal content. Moreover, participants in (...) this debate do not agree on criteria for representation. As such, future debate should either abandon the representational idiom or confront underlying semantic disagreements. (shrink)
This article reports original research conducted among animal rights activists and elites in Switzerland and the United States, and the finding that activism functioned in activists' and elites' lives like religious belief. The study used reference sampling to select Swiss and American informants. Various articles and activists have identified both latent and manifest quasi-religious components in the contemporary movement. Hence, the research followed upon these data and anecdotes and tested the role of activism in adherents' lives. Using extensive interviews, (...) the research discovered that activists and elites conform to the five necessary components of Yinger's definition of functional religion: intense and memorable conversion experiences, newfound communities of meaning, normative creeds, elaborate and well-defined codes of behavior, and cult formation. The article elaborates on that schema in the context of animal rights belief, elucidates the deeply meaningful role of activism within a filigree of meaning, and concludes that the movement is facing schismatic forces not dissimilar to redemptive and religious movements. (shrink)
This book offers a powerful response to what Varner calls the "two dogmas of environmental ethics"--the assumptions that animal rights philosophies and anthropocentric views are each antithetical to sound environmental policy. Allowing that every living organism has interests which ought, other things being equal, to be protected, Varner contends that some interests take priority over others. He defends both a sentientist principle giving priority to the lives of organisms with conscious desires and an anthropocentric principle giving priority to certain (...) very inclusive interests which only humans have. He then shows that these principles not only comport with but provide significant support for environmental goals. (shrink)
In Thinking without Words I develop a philosophical framework for treating some animals and human infants as genuine thinkers. This paper outlines the aspects of this account that are most relevant to those working in animal ethics. There is a range of different levels of cognitive sophistication in different animal species, in addition to limits to the types of thought available to non-linguistic creatures, and it may be important for animal ethicists to take this into account in (...) exploring issues of moral significance and the obligations that we might or might not have to non-human animals. (shrink)
To study animal welfare empirically we need an objective basis for deciding when an animal is suffering. Suffering includes a wide range ofunpleasant emotional states such as fear, boredom, pain, and hunger. Suffering has evolved as a mechanism for avoiding sources ofdanger and threats to fitness. Captive animals often suffer in situations in which they are prevented from doing something that they are highly motivated to do. The an animal is prepared to pay to attain or to (...) escape a situation is an index ofhow the animal about that situation. Withholding conditions or commodities for which an animal shows (i.e., for which it continues to work despite increasing costs) is very likely to cause suffering. In designing environments for animals in zoos, farms, and laboratories, priority should be given to features for which animals show inelastic demand. The care ofanimals can thereby be based on an objective, animal-centered assessment of their needs. (shrink)
Introduction: The role of animals in philosophies of man -- Part I: What's wrong with animal rights? -- The right to remain silent -- Part II: Animal pedagogy -- You are what you eat : Rousseau's cat -- Say the human responded : Herder's sheep -- Part III: Difference worthy of its name -- Hair of the dog : Derrida's and Rousseau's good taste -- Sexual difference, animal difference : Derrida's sexy silkworm -- Part IV: It's our (...) fault -- The beaver's struggle with species-being : De Beauvoir and the praying mantis -- Answering the call of nature : Lacan walking the dog -- Part V: Estranged kinship -- The abyss between humans and animals : Heidegger puts the bee in being -- Strange kinship : Merleau-Ponty's sensuous stickleback -- Stopping the anthropological machine : Agamben's tick-tocking tick -- Psychoanalysis and the science of kinship -- Psychoanalysis as animal by-product : Freud's zoophilia -- Animal abjects, maternal abjects : Kristeva's strays -- Conclusion: Sustainable ethics. (shrink)
Most philosophers writing about personal identity in recent years claim that what it takes for us to persist through time is a matter of psychology. In this groundbreaking new book, Eric Olson argues that such approaches face daunting problems, and he defends in their place a radically non-psychological account of personal identity. He defines human beings as biological organisms, and claims that no psychological relation is either sufficient or necessary for an organism to persist. Olson rejects several famous thought-experiments dealing (...) with personal identity. He argues, instead, that one could survive the destruction of all of one's psychological contents and capabilities as long as the human organism remains alive--as long as its vital functions, such as breathing, circulation, and metabolism, continue. (shrink)
Attitudes toward the treatment of nonhuman animals in the animal protection community remain largely under researched. In an attempt to begin to rectify this, this study conducted a survey of 407 members of the animal protection community using the Animal Attitude Scale . The survey also asked participants to indicate whether they identified more with animal rights or animal welfare perspectives and a direct or indirect action approach to securing animal protection. Results of the (...) current study indicate that, regardless of philosophical or practical beliefs, those in the animal protection community were significantly more pro-animal welfare than members of the general community. This disparity was even greater between the current participants and those of a previous study who identified as being employed in the Primary Industry sector. This paper discusses implications of this as well as respondents' philosophical and practical views. (shrink)
Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum bring together an all-star cast of contributors to explore the legal and political issues that underlie the campaign for animal rights and the opposition to it. Addressing ethical questions about ownership, protection against unjustified suffering, and the ability of animals to make their own choices free from human control, the authors offer numerous different perspectives on animal rights and animal welfare. They show that whatever one's ultimate conclusions, the relationship between human beings (...) and nonhuman animals is being fundamentally rethought. This book offers a state-of-the-art treatment of that rethinking. (shrink)
Since its original publication in 1975, this groundbreaking work has awakened millions of people to the existence of "speciesism"âour systematic disregard of nonhuman animalsâinspiring a worldwide movement to transform our attitudes to animals and eliminate the cruelty we inflict on them. In Animal Liberation, author Peter Singer exposes the chilling realities of today’s "factory farms" and product-testing proceduresâdestroying the spurious justifications behind them, and offering alternatives to what has become a profound environmental and social as well as moral issue. (...) An important and persuasive appeal to conscience, fairness, decency, and justice, it is essential reading for the supporter and the skeptic alike. (shrink)
Problems of and explanations for evil -- Neo-cartesianism -- Animal suffering and the fall -- Nobility, flourishing, and immortality : animal pain and animal well-being -- Natural evil, nomic regularity, and animal suffering -- Chaos, order, and evolution -- Combining CDs.
In Animal Rites, Cary Wolfe examines contemporary notions of humanism and ethics by reconstructing a little known but crucial underground tradition of theorizing the animal from Wittgenstein, Cavell, and Lyotard to Lévinas, Derrida, ...
In this paper I consider whether traditional behaviors of animals, like traditions of humans, are transmitted by imitation learning. Review of the literature on problem solving by captive primates, and detailed consideration of two widely cited instances of purported learning by imitation and of culture in free-living primates (sweet-potato washing by Japanese macaques and termite fishing by chimpanzees), suggests that nonhuman primates do not learn to solve problems by imitation. It may, therefore, be misleading to treat animal traditions and (...) human culture as homologous (rather than analogous) and to refer to animal traditions as cultural. (shrink)
In his paper The Opposite of Human Enhancement: Nanotechnology and the Blind Chicken problem (Nanoethics 2:305–316, 2008) Paul Thompson argues that the possibility of disenhancing animals in order to improve animal welfare poses a philosophical conundrum. Although many people intuitively think such disenhancement would be morally impermissible, it’s difficult to find good arguments to support such intuitions. In this brief response to Thompson, I accept that there’s a conundrum here. But I argue that if we seriously consider whether creating (...) beings can harm or benefit them, and introduce the non-identity problem to discussions of animal disehancement, the conundrum is even deeper than Thompson suggests. (shrink)
Recent policy developments in the area of livestock husbandry have suggested that, from the perspective of optimizing animal welfare, new animal husbandry systems should be developed that provide opportunities for livestock animals to be raised in environments where they are permitted to engage in “natural behavior.” It is not known whether consumers regard animal husbandry issues as important, and whether they differentiate between animal husbandry and other animal welfare issues. The responsibility for the development of (...) such systems is allocated jointly between farmers, regulators, different actors in the food chain, and consumers. This research focuses on understanding consumer attitudes and preferences regarding the development and introduction of such systems, to ensure that they are acceptable to consumers as well as producers, regulators, and scientists. Consumer perceptions of animal welfare and animal husbandry practices were evaluated using quantitative consumer survey, which focused on two animal husbandry issues – farmed pigs and farmed fish. Following pilot work, 1000 representative Dutch consumers were sampled about their attitudes to either pig or fish husbandry. The results indicated that consumers think about animal welfare in terms of two broad categories related to their health and living environment, but do not think about welfare issues at a more detailed level. Greater concern was expressed about the welfare of pigs compared to fish. Consumer trust in labeling also emerged as an important issue, since consumers need to trust different food chain actors with responsibility for promoting animal welfare, and are reluctant to consider the details of animal husbandry systems. As a consequence, a transparent, enforceable, and traceable monitoring system for animal welfare friendly products is likely to be important for consumers. (shrink)
Animal rights and moral theories -- Arguing for one's species -- Utilitarianism and animals : Peter Singer's case for animal liberation -- Tom Regan : animal rights as natural rights -- Virtue ethics and animals -- Contractarianism and animal rights -- Animal minds.
The aim of this review is to assess the ethical implications of finfish aquaculture, regarding fish welfare and environmental aspects. The finfish aquaculture industry has grown substantially the last decades, both as a result of the over-fishing of wild fish populations, and because of the increasing consumer demand for fish meat. As the industry is growing, a significant amount of research on the subject is being conducted, monitoring the effects of aquaculture on the environment and on animal welfare. The (...) areas of concern when it comes to animal welfare have here been divided into four different stages: breeding period; growth period; capturing and handling; and slaughter. Besides these stages, this report includes a chapter on the current evidence of fish sentience, since this issue is still being debated among biologists. However, most biologists are at present acknowledging the probability of fish being sentient creatures. Current aquaculture practices are affecting fish welfare during all four of the cited stages, both on physical and mental levels, as well as on the ability of fish to carry out natural behaviors. The effect fish farming has on the environment is here separated into five different categories: the decline of wild fish populations; waste and chemical discharge; loss of habitat; spreading of diseases; and invasion of exotic organisms. There is evidence of severe negative effects on the environment when looking at these five categories, even when considering the difficulty of studying environmental effects, due to the closely interacting variables. The ethical arguments and scientific evidences here reviewed have not all come to the same conclusions. Nevertheless, the general agreement is that current aquaculture practices are neither meeting the needs of fish nor environment. Thus, the obvious environmental and animal welfare aspects of finfish aquaculture make it hard to ethically defend a fish diet. (shrink)
Introduction: Reason, ethics, and animals -- Part I: Making the rational case -- Why animal suffering matters morally -- How we minimize animal suffering and how we can change -- Part II: Three practical critiques -- First case: Hunting with dogs -- Second case: Fur farming -- Third case: Commercial sealing -- Conclusion: Re-establishing animals and children as a common cause and six objections considered.
Several attempts to conceptualize farm animal welfare have been criticized for diverging reasons, among them often the failure to incorporate the public concern and opinion. This paper’s objective is to develop a conception of farm animal welfare that starts from the public’s perception and integrates the opinion of different stakeholder representatives, thus following a fork-to-farm approach. Four qualitative citizen focus group discussions were used to develop a quantitative questionnaire, which has been completed by a representative sample of Flemish (...) citizens ( n = 459). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were applied to develop a conception of farm animal welfare starting from an extended list of aspects that relate to animal production and associate with farm animal welfare in the public’s perception. In depth interviews with stakeholder representatives were used to match and adapt the structure of the animal welfare conception model. The resulting conception revealed seven dimensions grouped in two different levels. Three dimensions were animal-based: “Suffering and Stress,” “Ability to Engage in Natural Behavior,” and “Animal Health.” Four dimensions were resource-based: “Housing and Barn climate,” “Transport and Slaughter,” “Feed and Water,” and “Human-Animal Relationship.” This conception is distinct from earlier attempts since it is based on public perceptions; it addresses the opinion of different stakeholders, and it distinguishes empirically between animal-based and resource-based dimensions in the conceptualization of farm animal welfare. The relevancy of a popular definition is supported by the present demand oriented economy, in which animal welfare is a non-trade concern, and mainly left to the market where consumers still mainly act as individuals who calculate and weigh pros and cons. (shrink)
In this paper we1 assess the potential for research on nonhuman animals to address questions about the phenomenology of painful experiences. Nociception, the basic capacity for sensing noxious stimuli, is widespread in the animal kingdom. Even rel- atively primitive animals such as leeches and sea slugs possess nociceptors, neurons that are functionally specialized for sensing noxious stimuli (Walters 1996). Vertebrate spinal cords play a sophisticated role in processing and modulating nociceptive signals, providing direct control of some motor responses to (...) noxious stimuli, and a basic capacity for Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning (Grau et al. 1990; Grau 2002). Higher brain systems provide additional layers of association, top-down control, and cognition. In humans, at least, these higher brain systems also give rise to the conscious experiences that are characteristic of pain. What can be said about the experiences of other animals who possess nervous systems that are similar but not identical to humans? (shrink)
The history of the regulation of animal research is essentially the history of the emergence of meaningful social ethics for animals in society. Initially, animal ethics concerned itself solely with cruelty, but this was seen as inadequate to late 20th-century concerns about animal use. The new social ethic for animals was quite different, and its conceptual bases are explored in this paper. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 represented a very minimal and in many ways incoherent (...) attempt to regulate animal research, and is far from morally adequate. The 1985 amendments did much to render coherent the ethic for laboratory animals, but these standards were still inadequate in many ways, as enumerated here. The philosophy underlying these laws is explained, their main provisions are explored, and future directions that could move the ethic forward and further rationalize the laws are sketched. (shrink)
The results of two independent empirical studies with Flemish citizens were combined to address the problem of a short fall of information provision about higher welfare products. The research objectives were (1) to improve our understanding of how citizens conceptualize farm animal welfare, (2) to analyze the variety in the claimed personal relevance of animal welfare in the food purchasing decision process, and (3) to find out people’s needs in relation to product information about animal welfare and (...) the extent to which the current information caters to these needs. The first study consisted of a survey conducted in three consecutive years (2000–2002, n = 521) and was complemented with more recent qualitative data from four focus group discussions (2006, n = 29). Citizens’ conceptualization of farm animal welfare matched reasonably well with those in the scientific literature, although it is clearly influenced by a lower level of practical experience and a higher weight of empathy. In general, respondents indicated that animal welfare was an important product attribute, although it was less important than primary product attributes such as quality, health, and safety. Moral issues, rather than a perception of higher quality, were the main influence on preferences for higher welfare products. At present, higher standards of animal welfare are mostly guaranteed within more general quality assurance schemes. Yet people’s decisions to not choose higher welfare products seems to be related to the perceptual disconnection between eating animal food products and the living producing animals. Respondents generally thought better information provision was required and the present level of provision was strongly criticized. In combination, the findings of both studies help inform the discussion about how citizens can be informed about animal welfare and the preferred content, source, and medium of such information. The paper also provides insights into citizens’ semantic interpretation of the concept of animal welfare (what wordings they use) and the range of relevance that animal welfare has for different groups that, in turn is useful in identifying which segments can be targeted. This can contribute to a more effective valorization of animal welfare as a product attribute. (shrink)
Do non-human animals have rights? The answer to this question depends on whether animals have morally relevant mental properties. Mindreading is the human activity of ascribing mental states to other organisms. Current knowledge about the evolution and cognitive structure of mindreading indicates that human ascriptions of mental states to non-human animals are very inaccurate. The accuracy of human mindreading can be improved with the help of scientific studies of animal minds. But the scientific studies by themselves do not by (...) themselves solve the problem of how to map psychological similarities (and differences) between humans and animals onto a distinction between morally relevant and morally irrelevant mental properties. The current limitations of human mindreading – whether scientifically aided or not – have practical consequences for the rational justification of claims about which rights (if any) non-human animals should be accorded. (shrink)
Although 20th-century empiricists were agnostic about animal mind and consciousness, this was not the case for their historical ancestors – John Locke, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and, of course, Charles Darwin and George John Romanes. Given the dominance of the Darwinian paradigm of evolutionary continuity, one would not expect belief in animal mind to disappear. That it did demonstrates that standard accounts of how scientific hypotheses are overturned – i.e., by empirical disconfirmation or by exposure (...) of logical flaws – is inadequate. In fact, it can be demonstrated that belief in animal mind disappeared as a result of a change of values, a mechanism also apparent in the Scientific Revolution. The “valuational revolution” responsible for denying animal mind is examined in terms of the rise of Behaviorism and its flawed account of the historical inevitability of denying animal mentation. The effects of the denial of animal consciousness included profound moral implications for the major uses of animals in agriculture and scientific research. The latter is particularly notable for the denial of felt pain in animals. The rise of societal moral concern for animals, however, has driven the “reappropriation of common sense” about animal thought and feeling. (shrink)
Should people who believe in animal rights think that abortion is wrong? Should pro-lifers accept animal rights? If you think it’s wrong to kill fetuses to end pregnancies, should you also think it’s wrong to kill animals to, say, eat them? If you, say, oppose animal research, should you also oppose abortion? -/- Some argue ‘yes’ and others argue ‘no’ to either or both sets of questions. The correct answer, however, seems to be, ‘it depends’: it depends (...) on why someone accepts animal rights, and why someone thinks abortion is wrong: it depends on their reasons. (shrink)
Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852–1936) is widely regarded as the father of modern comparative psychology. Yet, Morgan initially had significant doubts about whether a genuine science of comparative psychology was even possible, only later becoming more optimistic about our ability to make reliable inferences about the mental capacities of non-human animals. There has been a fair amount of disagreement amongst scholars of Morgan’s work about the nature, timing, and causes of this shift in Morgan’s thinking. We argue that Morgan underwent two (...) quite different shifts of attitude towards the proper practice of comparative psychology. The first was a qualified acceptance of the Romanesian approach to comparative psychology that he had initially criticized. The second was a shift away from Romanes’ reliance on systematizing anecdotal evidence of animal intelligence towards an experimental approach, focused on studying the development of behaviour. We emphasize the role of Morgan’s evolving epistemological views in bringing about the first shift – in particular, his philosophy of science. We emphasize the role of an intriguing but overlooked figure in the history of comparative psychology in explaining the second shift, T. Mann Jones, whose correspondence with Morgan provided an important catalyst for Morgan’s experimental turn, particularly the special focus on development. We also shed light on the intended function of Morgan’s Canon, the methodological principle for which Morgan is now mostly known. The Canon can only be properly understood by seeing it in the context of Morgan’s own unique experimental vision for comparative psychology. (shrink)
How much do animals matter--morally? Can we keep considering them as second class beings, to be used merely for our benefit? Or, should we offer them some form of moral egalitarianism? Inserting itself into the passionate debate over animal rights, this fascinating, provocative work by renowned scholar Paola Cavalieri advances a radical proposal: that we extend basic human rights to the nonhuman animals we currently treat as "things." Cavalieri first goes back in time, tracing the roots of the debate (...) from the 1970s, then explores not only the ethical but also the scientific viewpoints, examining the debate's precedents in mainstream Western philosophy. She considers the main proposals of reform that recently have been advanced within the framework of today's prevailing ethical perspectives. Are these proposals satisfying? Cavalieri says no, claiming that it is necessary to go beyond the traditional opposition between utilitarianism and Kantianism and focus on the question of fundamental moral protection. In the case of human beings, such protection is granted within the widely shared moral doctrine of universal human rights' theory. Cavalieri argues that if we examine closely this theory, we will discover that its very logic extends to nonhuman animals as beings who are owed basic moral and legal rights and that, as a result, human rights are not human after all. (shrink)
Paper presented at the Heidegger Circle 2011. Although Aristotle’s influence on young Heidegger’s thought has been studied at length, such studies have almost exclusively focused on his interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics, physics and metaphysics. I will rather address Heidegger’s appropriation of Aristotle’s ontology of life. Focusing on recently published or recently translated courses of the mid 20’s (mainly SS 1924, WS 1925-26 and SS 1926), I hope to uncover an important aspect of young Heidegger’s thought left unconsidered: namely, that Dasein’s (...) existential structures – Befindlichkeit, Understanding and being-with-one-another through language – arose from his close reading of Aristotle’s ontology of life, of animal life. (shrink)
Our goal in this paper is to provide enough of an account of the origins of cognitive ethology and the controversy surrounding it to help ethicists to gauge for themselves how to balance skepticism and credulity about animal minds when communicating with scientists. We believe that ethicists’ arguments would benefit from better understanding of the historical roots of ongoing controversies. It is not appropriate to treat some widely reported results in animal cognition as if their interpretations are a (...) matter of scientific consensus. It is especially important to understand why loose references to “cognitive ethology” by philosophers can signal ignorance of the field to scientists who are more deeply immersed in the relevant literature. Understanding the variety of approaches to cognitive phenomena in animals is essential if such capacities are to form the foundation of scientifically-informed ethical reasoning about animals. (shrink)
The study of animal cognition raises profound questions about the minds of animals and philosophy of mind itself. Aristotle argued that humans are the only animal to laugh, but in recent experiments rats have also been shown to laugh. In other experiments, dogs have been shown to respond appropriately to over two hundred words in human language. In this introduction to the philosophy of animal minds Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems and debates as (...) they cut across animal cognition and philosophy of mind. She addresses the following key topics: what is cognition, and what is it to have a mind? What questions should we ask to determine whether behaviour has a cognitive basis? the science of animal minds explained: ethology, behaviourist psychology, and cognitive ethology rationality in animals animal consciousness: what does research into pain and the emotions reveal? What can empirical evidence about animal behaviour tell us about philosophical theories of consciousness? does animal cognition involve belief and concepts; do animals have a ‘Language of Thought’? animal communication other minds: do animals attribute ‘mindedness’ to other creatures? moral reasoning and ethical behaviour in animals animal cognition and memory. Extensive use of empirical examples and case studies is made throughout the book. These include Cheney and Seyfarth’s ververt monkey research, Thorndike’s cat puzzle boxes, Jensen’s research into humans and chimpanzees and the ultimatum game, Pankseep and Burgdorf’s research on rat laughter, and Clayton and Emery’s research on memory in scrub-jays. Additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind, animal cognition. It will also be an excellent resource for those in fields such as ethology, biology and psychology. (shrink)
Recent results from the neurosciences demonstrate that pleasure and pain are not two symmetrical poles of a single scale of experience but in fact two different types of experiences altogether, with dramatically different contributions to well-being. These differences between pleasure and pain and the general finding that “the bad is stronger than the good” have important implications for our treatment of nonhuman animals. In particular, whereas animal experimentation that causes suffering might be justified if it leads to the prevention (...) of more suffering, it can never by justified merely by leading to increased levels of happiness. (shrink)
In this paper I look at moral debates about animal disenhancement. In particular, I propose that given the particular social institutions in which such disenhancement will operate, we ought to reject animal disenhancement. I do this by introducing the issue of animal disenhancement and presenting arguments in support of it, and showing that while these arguments are strong, they are unconvincing when we look at the full picture. Viewing animal disenhancement in a context such as high (...) intensity food production, we see that the arguments in support of it fall short of other ethical considerations, leading me to conclude that the moral and pragmatic reasons weigh against animal disenhancement. (shrink)