A Minimal Normative Proposal

Paola Cavalieri

in The Animal Question

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143805
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833122 | DOI:
A Minimal Normative Proposal

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Finally, I argue that we already have at our disposal a theory that settles some of the moral questions of a decent coexistence, namely, human rights doctrine. I suggest that basic human rights have three main features: they are political and institutional in character; they refer to narrow morality and are thus negative rights; they are not justified by reference to rationality, self‐consciousness, or any other ”higher” characteristics, but instead by reference to the mere intentionality of the individual. In the light of the moral irrelevance of species membership, I conclude that consistency demands that we expand human rights doctrine to include all those intentional animals whom we currently treat as little more than mere things, and that we alter our institutions accordingly.

Keywords: animal rights; consistency; human rights; intentionality; narrow morality; negative rights; rationality; self‐consciousness

Chapter.  7726 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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