Friendship with Companion Animals

Cynthia Townley

in Pets and People

Published in print April 2017 | ISBN: 9780190456085
Published online February 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190456108 | DOI:
Friendship with Companion Animals

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  • Moral Philosophy
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Animals seem to be friends with one another and with humans, as they show clear affiliations and preferences for some individuals over others. The relationships between humans and their animal companions or pets can meet the criteria of at least some philosophical accounts of human friendship. Animals can demonstrate some of the relevant virtues, such as courage and forbearance, and can participate in a shared life, including some interactions governed by norms. Admittedly, humans can interact in ways that are likely beyond the scope of nonhuman animals, such as complex narrative explanations. But narrative explanations are not the most important aspect of friendship, and are probably absent from many friendships between humans. In spite of differences in power and capacities, there are genuine and deep friendships between humans and animal companions.

Keywords: animal companion; friendship; norm; pet; virtue

Chapter.  6082 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy

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