The Relevance of Relationships

Mary Anne Warren

in Moral Status

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250401
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681295 | DOI:

Series: Issues in Biomedical Ethics

The Relevance of Relationships

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This chapter examines two theories of moral status which are based upon relational rather than intrinsic properties. Some deep ecologists, such as J. Baird Callicott, hold that the moral status of a member of a particular biological species depends entirely upon that species' role — positive or negative — within a social or biotic community. Feminist ethicists, such as Nel Noddings, have argued that the moral status of living things always depends upon our emotional connections to them. The chapter argues that both these theories contain insights that need to be incorporated into an adequate account of moral status; but that neither membership in a social or biological community nor emotional connectedness can serve as the sole criterion of moral status.

Keywords: moral status; J. Baird Callicott; Nel Noddings; living things

Chapter.  9569 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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