Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy
Julian H. Franklin
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Animals obviously cannot have a right of free speech or a right to vote because they lack the relevant capacities. But their right to life and to be free of exploitation is no less fundamental than the corresponding right of humans, writes Julian H. Franklin. This theoretically rigorous book will reassure the committed, help the uncertain to decide, and arm the polemicist.
Franklin examines all the major arguments for animal rights proposed to date and extends the philosophy in new directions. Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy begins by considering the utilitarian argument of equal respect for animals advocated by Peter Singer and, even more favorably, the rights approach that has been advanced by Tom Regan. Despite their merits, both are found wanting as theoretical foundations for animal rights. Franklin also examines the ecofeminist argument for an ethics of care and several rationalist arguments before concluding that Kant's categorical imperative can be expanded to form a basis for an ethical system that includes all sentient beings. Franklin also discusses compassion as applied to animals, encompassing Albert Schweitzer's ethics of reverence for life. He concludes his analysis by considering conflicts of rights between animals and humans.
relevant. Animals obviously cannot have a right of free speech or a right to vote because they lack the relevant capacities. But their right to life and to be free of exploitation is no less fundamental than the corresponding right of humans. My exploration of these questions comes late in my career. My academic specialty is the history of political thought, within which I have specialized in theories of absolutism and constitutionalism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. But I have
Master of them all, should by any manifest declaration of his Will set one above another, and confer upon him by clear appointment and undoubted Right to Dominion and Sovereignty.33 Two paragraphs later the meaning for animals is spelled out. “[T]here cannot be supposed any such Subordination among us, that may Authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one anothers uses, as the inferior ranks of Creatures are for ours.” (par. 6) That animals are inferior to humans in many
apparent inconsistency, and quite explicitly states that his rights-based theory does not allow the experiment. His explanation of the difference between killing the dog as an experiment and killing it by throwing it out of the lifeboat, is that when we perform such experiments we treat animals “as if their value were reducible merely to their possible utility relative to human interests. . . . ” But why should this be so? Why should we not say, as Regan said in the lifeboat case, that we must
Callicott seems to materialize. Specifically repudiating the charge of ecofascism in Regan and others, he begins to work out a more complex system of priorities designed to find a compromise between environmental values and human ethics. He strongly protests a rigid interpretation of Leopold’s land ethic: I never actually endorsed such a position. It is obnoxious and untenable. And I now no longer think that misanthropic prescriptions can be deduced from the Leopold land ethic. . . . I certainly
advance the level of human existence are not justified, but rather condemned by this principle of conservation. There is thus a right of animals to unused nature. Unjustified intrusion into their environment is a moral wrong done to the animals affected (as well as to other human beings for whom nature is an important value). 112 Conflict of Rights and Environmentalism Furthermore, the presumption in favor of humans notwithstanding, this right of animals is a serious restraint. Humans may