The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare – some natural behaviors may decrease welfare, while some unnatural behaviors increase it. Here I analyze why this idea persists, and what effects it may have. I argue that the disagreement underlying this debate on natural behavior is not one about which conditions affect welfare, (...) but a deeper conceptual disagreement about what the state of welfare actually consists of. Those advocating natural behavior typically take a “teleological” view of welfare, in which naturalness is fundamental to welfare, while opponents to the criterion usually take a “subjective” welfare concept, in which welfare consists of the subjective experience of life by the animal. I argue that as natural functioning is neither necessary nor sufficient for understanding welfare, we should move away from the natural behavior criterion to an alternative such as behavioral preferences or enjoyment. This will have effects in the way we understand and measure welfare, and particularly in how we provide for the welfare of animals in a captive setting. (shrink)
Proponents of the utilitarian animal welfare argument (AWA) for veganism maintain that it is reasonable to expect that adopting a vegan diet will decrease animal suffering. In this paper I argue otherwise. I maintain that (i) there are plausible scenarios in which refraining from meat-consumption will not decrease animal suffering; (ii) the utilitarian AWA rests on a false dilemma; and (iii) there are no reasonable grounds for the expectation that adopting a vegan diet will decrease animal (...) suffering. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first, I set out the utilitarian AWA in its original form. I give some background and I distinguish it from other, related arguments. In the second, I discuss the causal impotence objection, a popular objection to the utilitarian AWA. I explain how the objection works by means of a conceptual distinction between consumers and producers. In the third, I explain how proponents of the utilitarian AWA respond to this objection. In particular, I set out in some detail what I call the expected utility response. In the fourth and final section, I use the three objections noted above to explain why I do not find this response convincing. (shrink)
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.
We welcome Mikhalevich & Powell’s (2020) (M&P) call for a more “‘inclusive”’ animal ethics, but we think their proposed shift toward a moral framework that privileges false positives over false negatives will require radically revising the paradigm assumption in animal research: that there is a clear line to be drawn between sentient beings that are part of our moral community and nonsentient beings that are not.
In debates about animal sentience, the precautionary principle is often invoked. The idea is that when the evidence of sentience is inconclusive, we should “give the animal the benefit of the doubt” or “err on the side of caution” in formulating animal protection legislation. Yet there remains confusion as to whether it is appropriate to apply the precautionary principle in this context, and, if so, what “applying the precautionary principle” means in practice regarding the burden of proof (...) for animal sentience. Here I construct a version of the precautionary principle tailored to the question of animal sentience together with a practical framework for implementing it. I explain and defend the key features of this framework, argue that it is well-aligned with current practice in animal welfare science, and consider and reject a number of influential counterarguments to the use of precautionary reasoning in this area. (shrink)
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)
This is a chapter written for an audience that is not intimately familiar with the philosophy of animal consumption. It provides an overview of the harms that animals, the environment, and humans endure as a result of industrial animal agriculture, and it concludes with a defense of ostroveganism and a tentative defense of cultured meat.
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.
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)
-/- This chapter evaluates the ethical issues that using cost-effectiveness considerations to set animal health priorities might present, and its conclusions are cautiously optimistic. While using cost-effectiveness calculations in animal health is not without ethical pitfalls, these calculations offer a pathway toward more rigorous priority-setting efforts that allow money spent on animal well-being to do more good. Although assessing quality of life for animals may be more challenging than in humans, implementing prioritization based on cost-effectiveness is less (...) ethically fraught. (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.
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.
This article provides a philosophical overview of some of the central Buddhist positions and argument regarding animal welfare. It introduces the Buddha's teaching of ahiṃsā or non-violence and rationally reconstructs five arguments from the context of early Indian Buddhism that aim to justify its extension to animals. These arguments appeal to the capacity and desire not to suffer, the virtue of compassion, as well as Buddhist views on the nature of self, karma, and reincarnation. This article also considers how (...) versions of these arguments have been applied to address a practical issue in Buddhist ethics; whether Buddhists should be vegetarian. (shrink)
Peña-Guzmán (2017) argues that empirical evidence and evolutionary theory compel us to treat the phenomenon of suicide as continuous in the animal kingdom. He defends a “continuist” account in which suicide is a multiply-realizable phenomenon characterized by self-injurious and self-annihilative behaviors. This view is problematic for several reasons. First, it appears to mischaracterize the Darwinian view that mind is continuous in nature. Second, by focusing only on surface-level features of behavior, it groups causally and etiologically disparate phenomena under a (...) single conceptual umbrella, thereby reducing the account’s explanatory power. Third, it obscures existing analyses of suicide in biomedical ethics and animal welfare literatures. A more promising naturalistic approach might seek a theoretical understanding of the social/ecological circumstances that drive humans and perhaps other animals to self-destruction. (shrink)
In this article, Palmer provides a clear survey of positions on killing domestic animals in animal shelters. She argues that there are three ways of understanding the killing that occurs in animal shelters: consequentialism, rights based, and relation based. She considers the relationship of humans and domesticated animals that leads to their killing in animal shelters as well as providing an ethical assessment of the practice.
Proponents of humane or traditional husbandry, in contrast to factory farming, often argue that maintaining meaningful relationships with animals entails working with them. Accordingly, they argue that animal liberation is misguided, since it appears to entail erasing our relationships to animals and depriving both us and them of valuable opportunities to live together. This chapter offers a critical examination of defense of animal husbandry based on the value of labour, in particular the view that farm animals could be (...) seen as workers, and what it entails. It then considers ways in which our relationships to domesticated species could be made meaningful, including through work, without entailing the premature killing of animals raised for food. Meaningful animal lives depend on a proper analysis of the meaning, and value, of labour, which this chapter argues is missing from labour-based defenses of humane husbandry. (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)
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)
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 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".
Contemporary Indian identification with Hindu traditions (whether more narrowly or broadly conceived) among champions of animal protection often invokes the well-known concept of ahiṁṣā—nonviolence, as the moral basis for the position against violence toward non-human animals. To foster a more informed comprehension of this notion, this paper sets out the complex character of religious practice as presented in the Hindu scripture Bhagavad-gītā, to explore how its tenets might meaningfully apply to the practice of animal experimentation.
Utilitarianism has an apparent pedigree when it comes to animal welfare. It supports the view that animal welfare matters just as much as human welfare. And many utilitarians support and oppose various practices in line with more mainstream concern over animal welfare, such as that we should not kill animals for food or other uses, and that we ought not to torture animals for fun. This relationship has come under tension from many directions. The aim of this (...) article is to add further considerations in support of that tension. I suggest three ways in which utilitarianism comes significantly apart from mainstream concerns with animal welfare. First, utilitarianism opposes animal cruelty only when it offers an inefficient ratio of pleasure to pain; while this may be true of eating animal products, it is not obviously true of other abuses. Second, utilitarianism faces a familiar problem of the inefficacy of individual decisions; I consider a common response to this worry, and offer further concerns. Finally, the common utilitarian argument against animal cruelty ignores various pleasures that humans may get from the superior status that a structure supporting exploitation confers. (shrink)
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.
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)
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)
New discoveries are improving the odds of human cells surviving in host animals, prompting regulatory and funding agencies to issue calls for additional layers of ethical oversight for certain types of human–animal chimeras. Of interest are research proposals involving chimeric animals with humanized brains. But what is motivating the demand for additional oversight? I locate two, not obviously compatible, motivations, each of which provides the justificatory basis for paying special attention to different sets of human–animal chimeras. Surprisingly, the (...) sets of animals that actually get flagged for special scrutiny by research and funding guidelines do not correlate with either of the sets of animals that arise when we think about what is motivating additional oversight. What this shows is that existing research policies and funding guidelines are disconnected from their motivation: the rationale for flagging certain types of human–animal chimeras as requiring special oversight is ignored in execution. (shrink)
Animals, the beautiful creatures of God in the Stoic and especially in Porphyry’s sense, need to be treated as rational. We know that the Stoics ask for justice to all rational beings, but I think there is no significant proclamation from their side that openly talks in favour of animal’s justice. They claim the rationality of animals but do not confer any right to human beings. The later Neo-Platonist philosopher Porphyry magnificently deciphers this idea in his writing On Abstinence (...) from Animal Food. Aristotle’s successor Theophrastus thinks that both animals and humans are made up of same tissues and like a human, animals also have the same way of perception, reasoning and appetites. My next effort would be to decipher how Porphyry illustrates Theophrastus’ perspective not in the way (the technical theory of justice) the Stoics argued. Porphyry’s stance seems more humanistic that looks for the pertinent reasons for treating animal rights from the contention of justice that Aristotle in his early writings defied since the animals can deal with reasons. The paper highlights on how much we could justificatorily demand the empathetic concern for animals from the outlook of the mentioned Greek thinkers and the modern animal rights thinkers as quasi-right of animals, even if my own position undertakes the empathetic ground for animals as an undeserving humanitarian way. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that scientists working on the animal morality debate have been operating with a narrow view of morality that prematurely limits the variety of moral practices that animals may be capable of. We show how this bias can be partially corrected by paying more attention to the touch behaviours of animals. We argue that a careful examination of the ways in which animals engage in and navigate touch interactions can shed new light on current debates (...) on animal morality, like the study of consolation behaviour, while also revealing further forms that animal morality may take and that have been neglected so far, like capacities of tolerance or trust. This defence is structured as an analysis of the three main functions of touch: the discriminative function, the affiliative function, and the vigilance function. (shrink)
When consumers choose to abstain from purchasing meat, they face some uncertainty about whether their decisions will have an impact on the number of animals raised and killed. Consequentialists have argued that this uncertainty should not dissuade consumers from a vegetarian diet because the “expected” impact, or average impact, will be predictable. Recently, however, critics have argued that the expected marginal impact of a consumer change is likely to be much smaller or more radically unpredictable than previously thought. This objection (...) to the consequentialist case for vegetarianism is known as the “causal inefficacy” (or “causal impotence”) objection. In this paper, we argue that the inefficacy objection fails. First, we summarize the contours of the objection and the standard “expected impact” response to it. Second, we examine and rebut two contemporary attempts (by Mark Budolfson and Ted Warfield) to defeat the expected impact reply through alleged demonstrations of the inefficacy of abstaining from meat consumption. Third, we argue that there are good reasons to believe that single individual consumers—not just individual consumers taken as an aggregate—really do make a positive difference when they choose to abstain from meat consumption. Our case rests on three economic observations: (i) animal producers operate in a highly competitive environment, (ii) complex supply chains efficiently communicate some information about product demand, and (iii) consumers of plant-based meat alternatives have positive consumption spillover effects on other consumers. (shrink)
Empirical studies of the social lives of non-human primates, cetaceans, and other social animals have prompted scientists and philosophers to debate the question of whether morality and moral cognition exists in non-human animals. Some researchers have argued that morality does exist in several animal species, others that these species may possess various evolutionary building blocks or precursors to morality, but not quite the genuine article, while some have argued that nothing remotely resembling morality can be found in any non-human (...) species. However, these different positions on animal morality generally appear to be motivated more by different conceptions of how the term “morality” is to be defined than by empirical disagreements about animal social behaviour and psychology. After delving deeper into the goals and methodologies of various of the protagonists, I argue that, despite appearances, there are actually two importantly distinct debates over animal morality going on, corresponding to two quite different ways of thinking about what it is to define “morality”, “moral cognition”, and associated notions. Several apparent skirmishes in the literature are thus cases of researchers simply talking past each other. I then focus on what I take to be the core debate over animal morality, which is concerned with understanding the nature and phylogenetic distribution of morality conceived as a psychological natural kind. I argue that this debate is in fact largely terminological and non-substantive. Finally, I reflect on how this core debate might best be re-framed. (shrink)
An adequate theory of rights ought to forbid the harming of animals (human or nonhuman) to promote trivial interests of humans, as is often done in the animal-user industries. But what should the rights view say about situations in which harming some animals is necessary to prevent intolerable injustices to other animals? I develop an account of respectful treatment on which, under certain conditions, it’s justified to intentionally harm some individuals to prevent serious harm to others. This can be (...) compatible with recognizing the inherent value of the ones who are harmed. My theory has important implications for contemporary moral issues in nonhuman animal ethics, such as the development of cultured meat and animal research. (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)
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)
This article brings animal protection theory to bear on Temple Grandin’s work, in her capacity both as a designer of slaughter facilities and as an advocate for omnivorism. Animal protection is a better term for what is often termed animal rights, given that many of the theories grouped under the animal rights label do not extend the concept of rights to animals. I outline the nature of Grandin’s system of humane slaughter as it pertains to cattle. (...) I then outline four arguments Grandin has made defending meat-eating. On a protection-based approach, I argue, Grandin’s system of slaughter is superior to its traditional counterpart. Grandin’s success as a designer of humane slaughterhouses however is not matched by any corresponding success in offering a moral defence of meat-eating. Despite, or perhaps because of, the popularity of her work, Grandin’s arguments for continuing to eat animals are noteworthy only in how disappointing and rudimentary they are. If we can thank Grandin for making a difference in the lives of millions of farm animals, her work can also be criticized for not engaging the moral status of animals with the depth and rigor that it deserves. (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)
When making decisions about action to improve animal lives, it is important that we have accurate estimates of how much animals are suffering under different conditions. The current frameworks for making comparative estimates of suffering all fall along the lines of multiplying numbers of animals used by length of life and amount of suffering experienced. However, the numbers used to quantify suffering are usually generated through unreliable and subjective processes which make them unlikely to be correct. In this paper, (...) I look at how we might apply principled methods from animal welfare science to arrive at more accurate scores, which will then help us in making the best decisions for animals. I argue that a combined use of both a whole-animal measure and a combination measurement framework for assessing welfare will give us the most accurate answers to guide our action. (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)
Is morality uniquely human or does morality exist in at least some non-human animals? Are animals full-fledged moral creatures or do they merely exhibit proto-morality—evolutionary building blocks or precursors to morality, but not quite the genuine article? Such questions, prompted by remarkable advances in empirical research into the social and emotional lives of non-human animals, have aroused much recent interest amongst scientists, philosophers, and in the popular media, not least for their apparent bearing on questions of human uniqueness, evolution, and (...) the ethical status of animals. The debate over animal morality has produced many valuable contributions and stimulated new areas for empirical and theoretical research. However, focusing on these questions has led researchers to talk at cross-purposes and down some unproductive paths. The problem concerns the terms ‘morality’ and ‘moral’. (shrink)
In this paper, we present three necessary conditions for morally responsible animal research that we believe people on both sides of this debate can accept. Specifically, we argue that, even if human beings have higher moral status than nonhuman animals, animal research is morally permissible only if it satisfies (a) an expectation of sufficient net benefit, (b) a worthwhile-life condition, and (c) a no unnecessary-harm/qualified-basic-needs condition. We then claim that, whether or not these necessary conditions are jointly sufficient (...) conditions of justified animal research, they are relatively demanding with the consequence that many animal experiments may fail to satisfy them. (shrink)
In this article, first of all, I (hereafter: the writer) have presented an interpretation of aesthetic universality and it is argued that each definition of art has to admit the aesthetic universality. Next, the writer has argued that there is a relation between creativity and aesthetic universality, and it is claimed that there is the same aesthetic universality by the creative processes, products, and persons, both scientifically and philosophically; and so, the relation represents that aesthetic universality is true. Moreover, the (...) writer has applied the aesthetic universality by creativity to the philosophy of animal-made art. It is not only has been done by epistemic and conceptual arguments of contemporary philosophers but also the writer illustrates that first of all, the normativity of the philosophy of animal-made art is prior to the descriptive one; secondly, the aesthetic universality is the criteria to know that animal-made art is impossible. Even though it is possible to make the human-made animal art through transplantation or chimera and it is clear that it would not be animal-made art. (shrink)
Most people believe that suffering is intrinsically bad. In conjunction with facts about our world and plausible moral principles, this yields a pro tanto obligation to reduce suffering. This is the intuitive starting point for the moral argument in favor of interventions to prevent wild animal suffering. If we accept the moral principle that we ought, pro tanto, to reduce the suffering of all sentient creatures, and we recognize the prevalence of suffering in the wild, then we seem committed (...) to the existence of such a pro tanto obligation. Of course, competing values such as the aesthetic, scientific or moral values of species, biodiversity, naturalness or wildness, might be relevant to the all-things-considered case for or against intervention. Still, many argue that, even if we were to give some weight to such values, no plausible theory could resist the conclusion that WAS is overridingly important. This article is concerned with large-scale interventions to prevent WAS and their tractability and the deep epistemic problem they raise. We concede that suffering gives us a reason to prevent it where it occurs, but we argue that the nature of ecosystems leaves us with no reason to predict that interventions would reduce, rather than exacerbate, suffering. We consider two interventions, based on gene editing technology, proposed as holding promise to prevent WAS; raise epistemic concerns about them; discuss their potential moral costs; and conclude by proposing a way forward: to justify interventions to prevent WAS, we need to develop models that predict the effects of interventions on biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and animals’ well-being. (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.
. . Tom Beauchamp and David DeGrazia's principles do improve upon the 3Rs which don’t mention the need for benefits from animal experimentation, the need to compare these benefits to animal harms, and provide no hard limits on experimentation. -/- However, they present their principles as “useful” for people engaged in animal research and as a “philosophically sound” (p. 4) framework for a new ethic for animal research. Regrettably, I have doubts about both these overall claims (...) and so am pessimistic about the book. (shrink)
This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is about animal rationality and mental processing in animals. This book discusses the theoretical issues and distinctions that bear on attributions of rationality to animals and draws some contrasts between rationality and certain other traits of animals to determine the relationships between them. It explores the relations between behaviour and the processes that explain behaviour, and the senses in which animal behaviour might be rational in virtue of features (...) other than classical reasoning processes on the human model. -/- . (shrink)
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 Otherwise than Being, Levinas writes that the alterity of the Other escapes “le flair animal,” or the animal’s sense of smell. This paper puts pressure on the strong human-animal distinction that Levinas makes by considering the possibility that, while non-human animals may not respond to the alterity of the Other in the way that Levinas describes as responsibility, animal sensibility plays a key role in a relation to Others that Levinas does not discuss at length: (...) friendship. This approach to friendship addresses a gap in Levinas’ work between the absolute Other for whom I am responsible and the “brother” who is my political equal. (shrink)
How does consciousness vary across the animal kingdom? Are some animals ‘more conscious’ than others? This article presents a multidimensional framework for understanding interspecies variation in states of consciousness. The framework distinguishes five key dimensions of variation: perceptual richness, evaluative richness, integration at a time, integration across time, and self-consciousness. For each dimension, existing experiments that bear on it are reviewed and future experiments are suggested. By assessing a given species against each dimension, we can construct a consciousness profile (...) for that species. On this framework, there is no single scale along which species can be ranked as more or less conscious. Rather, each species has its own distinctive consciousness profile. (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)