What Is an Animal?

Paul Waldau

in The Specter of Speciesism

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195145717
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834792 | DOI:

Series: AAR Academy Series

What Is an Animal?

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The questions, “What do and can we mean when we talk about ‘animals’?” and “What does it mean to talk about a species?” are broken down into their components. Language habits, epitomized by Augustine and Descartes, are problematized. The dualism “humans and animals” is analyzed as a logical problem in religious traditions and the modern animal rights movement. The notion “principle of differentiated value” is presented to deal with claims about hierarchy. The notions of “essentialism,” “traits proper to a species,” and “natural kind” as they have been used in conjunction with claims about species membership are broken down into their components.

Keywords: Augustine; Descartes; essentialism; hierarchy; humans; language; natural kind; species membership; species; traits

Chapter.  11884 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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