Article

Animals, Fundamental Moral Standing, and Speciesism

David Copp

in The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371963
Published online May 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195371963.013.0011

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Animals, Fundamental Moral Standing, and Speciesism

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This article considers whether we have moral duties that are owed directly to animals, or whether all duties regarding animals are derivative from duties we have to human beings. It maintains that we have moral duties directly toward nonhuman animals, not merely duties regarding them, and that this claim can be adequately grounded in the thesis of the fundamental standing of animals. Nonetheless, it finds that the thesis of the fundamental standing of animals is in tension with a very different and intuitively plausible thesis called the thesis of the fundamental concern of morality: morality is fundamentally concerned with advancing human welfare by enabling human beings to live together successfully in societies. This article argues that the two theses can be shown to be compatible; even the apparent “speciesism” of the second thesis is compatible with recognizing the fundamental standing of animals.

Keywords: moral duties; human beings; fundamental standing; morality; human welfare; speciesism

Article.  15510 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science

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