Sympathy and Subjectivity

Peter Carruthers

in Consciousness

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780199277360
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602597 | DOI:
Sympathy and Subjectivity

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Shows that even if the mental states of non-human animals lack phenomenal properties, as some accounts of mental-state consciousness imply, this need not prevent those states from being appropriate objects of sympathy and moral concern. Argues that the most basic form of mental (as opposed to biological) harm lies in the existence of thwarted agency, or thwarted desire, rather than in anything phenomenological. So, provided that animals are capable of desire, and of sometimes believing, of the objects desired, that they have not been achieved, then sympathy for their situation can be entirely appropriate.

Keywords: animal beliefs; animal consciousness; animal desires; desire frustration; psychological harm; sympathy

Chapter.  9859 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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