Human Animals and Nonhuman Persons

Sarah Chan and John Harris

in The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371963
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Human Animals and Nonhuman Persons

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This article starts with the assumption that the term “person” in the everyday sense is generally taken to be synonymous with the term “human”. Philosophers tend to use the word “person” in the more abstract sense of entities as someone who possess a particular moral status and about whom particular moral claims may be made on the basis of that status. This article considers whether a nonhuman animal or any other entity could, under certain specifiable conditions, be a person. It approaches this subject through personhood theory and asks why certain attributes are thought so important to being a person. It then asks what this account requires of nonhuman animals in order to be deemed persons. It also explores the implications of nonhuman animal personhood.

Keywords: nonhuman animals; moral status; animal personhood; philosophy; human; personhood theory

Article.  13361 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science

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