All Animals are Equal, but Some More than Others?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

Abstract

Does the moral badness of pain depend on who feels it? A common, but generally only implicitly stated view, is that it does not. This view, ‘unitarianism’, maintains that the same interests of different beings should count equally in our moral calculus. Shelly Kagan’s project in How to Count Animals, more or less (2019) is to reject this common view, and develop an alternative to it: a hierarchical view of moral status, on which the badness of pain does depend on who feels it. In this review essay, we critically examine Kagan’s argument for status hierarchy. In particular, we reject two of the central premises in his argument: that (1) moral standing is ultimately grounded in agency and (2) that unitarianism is overdemanding. We conclude that moral status may, despite Kagan’s compelling argument to the contrary, not be hierarchical.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Moral Philosophy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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Animals
Moral Status
Unitarianism
Pain
Calculi
Moral Standing

Keywords

  • moral standing
  • moral status
  • overdemandingness
  • pain
  • unitarianism
  • wellbeing

Cite this

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title = "All Animals are Equal, but Some More than Others?",
abstract = "Does the moral badness of pain depend on who feels it? A common, but generally only implicitly stated view, is that it does not. This view, ‘unitarianism’, maintains that the same interests of different beings should count equally in our moral calculus. Shelly Kagan’s project in How to Count Animals, more or less (2019) is to reject this common view, and develop an alternative to it: a hierarchical view of moral status, on which the badness of pain does depend on who feels it. In this review essay, we critically examine Kagan’s argument for status hierarchy. In particular, we reject two of the central premises in his argument: that (1) moral standing is ultimately grounded in agency and (2) that unitarianism is overdemanding. We conclude that moral status may, despite Kagan’s compelling argument to the contrary, not be hierarchical.",
keywords = "moral standing, moral status, overdemandingness, pain, unitarianism, wellbeing",
author = "Huub Brouwer and {van der Deijl}, Willem",
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issn = "1740-4681",
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All Animals are Equal, but Some More than Others? / Brouwer, Huub; van der Deijl, Willem.

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy, 2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

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