The Problem of Moral Status

Paola Cavalieri

in The Animal Question

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143805
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833122 | DOI:
The Problem of Moral Status

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After defending the idea that ethics is a theoretical enquiry endowed with autonomous standards of justification and criticism, within which criteria coming from other domains have no direct relevance, I dwell on the structure of the moral community. The notions of moral agent and moral patient are clarified, and a distinction is drawn between possible levels in moral status. Within this framework, I consider a set of often quoted criteria for inclusion into the moral community. My conclusion, which is widely shared within contemporary moral philosophy, is that, thanks to its connection with the role‐shift test, the criterion of consciousness remains the only plausible candidate criterion for the status of moral patient.

Keywords: consciousness; moral agent; moral community; moral patient; moral status; role‐shift test

Chapter.  7449 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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