Chapter

The Status of Animals

Rosemary Rodd

in Biology, Ethics, and Animals

Published in print October 1992 | ISBN: 9780198240525
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680199 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240525.003.0010

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

The Status of Animals

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This chapter hopes to show how a theory of sociobiology of ethics could be developed in a way which does allow for the full richness of human moral thought, and to describe its particular relevance to the way we treat animals. If morality is a sociobiological phenomenon, then evidence that human-animal relationships are often complex, requiring that the human partners engage in social reasoning of the kind involved in inter-human relationship, will lead weight to the idea that ethical thoughts has an important part to play in regulating such interactions. Accepting that animals have moral status and/or rights cannot be expected to eliminate moral dilemmas about the way we should act towards them. The question of whether animals should be classified as a type of person is less important to a consideration of their moral status than that of their ability to feel and to foresee pain and other harms.

Keywords: sociobiology; ethics; morality; dilemmas; persons; pain

Chapter.  13126 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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