How to Count Animals, more or less

Oxford University Press
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Most people agree that animals count morally, but how exactly should we take animals into account? A prominent stance in contemporary ethical discussions is that animals have the same moral status that people do, and so in moral deliberation the similar interests of animals and people should be given the very same consideration. In How to Count Animals, more or less, Shelly Kagan sets out and defends a hierarchical approach in which people count more than animals do and some animals count more than others. For the most part, moral theories have not been developed in such a way as to take account of differences in status. By arguing for a hierarchical account of morality - and exploring what status sensitive principles might look like - Kagan reveals just how much work needs to be done to arrive at an adequate view of our duties toward animals, and of morality more generally.
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About the author

Shelly Kagan is the Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale, where he has taught since 1995. He was an undergraduate at Wesleyan University and received his PhD in philosophy from Princeton University in 1982. Before coming to Yale, Professor Kagan taught at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of The Limits of Morality, Normative Ethics, and The Geometry of Desert. The videos of his undergraduate class on death (available online) have been popular around the world, and the book based on the course, Death, was a national bestseller in South Korea.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 5, 2019
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9780192565174
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animal Rights
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Christine M. Korsgaard presents a compelling new view of humans' moral relationships to the other animals. She defends the claim that we are obligated to treat all sentient beings as what Kant called "ends-in-themselves". Drawing on a theory of the good derived from Aristotle, she offers an explanation of why animals are the sorts of beings for whom things can be good or bad. She then turns to Kant's argument for the value of humanity to show that rationality commits us to claiming the standing of ends-in-ourselves, in two senses. Kant argued that as autonomous beings, we claim to be ends-in-ourselves when we claim the standing to make laws for ourselves and each other. Korsgaard argues that as beings who have a good, we also claim to be ends-in-ourselves when we take the things that are good for us to be good absolutely and so worthy of pursuit. The first claim commits us to joining with other autonomous beings in relations of moral reciprocity. The second claim commits us to treating the good of every sentient creature as something of absolute importance. Korsgaard argues that human beings are not more important than the other animals, that our moral nature does not make us superior to the other animals, and that our unique capacities do not make us better off than the other animals. She criticizes the "marginal cases" argument and advances a new view of moral standing as attaching to the atemporal subjects of lives. She criticizes Kant's own view that our duties to animals are indirect, and offers a non-utilitarian account of the relation between pleasure and the good. She also addresses a number of directly practical questions: whether we have the right to eat animals, experiment on them, make them work for us and fight in our wars, and keep them as pets; and how to understand the wrong that we do when we cause a species to go extinct.
Many people think that animal liberation would require a fundamental transformation of basic beliefs. We would have to give up "speciesism" and start viewing animals as our equals, with rights and moral status. And we would have to apply these beliefs in an all-or-nothing way. But in Ethics and the Beast, Tzachi Zamir makes the radical argument that animal liberation doesn't require such radical arguments--and that liberation could be accomplished in a flexible and pragmatic way. By making a case for liberation that is based primarily on common moral intuitions and beliefs, and that therefore could attract wide understanding and support, Zamir attempts to change the terms of the liberation debate.

Without defending it, Ethics and the Beast claims that speciesism is fully compatible with liberation. Even if we believe that we should favor humans when there is a pressing human need at stake, Zamir argues, that does not mean that we should allow marginal human interests to trump the life-or-death interests of animals. As minimalist as it sounds, this position generates a robust liberation program, including commitments not to eat animals, subject them to factory farming, or use them in medical research. Zamir also applies his arguments to some questions that tend to be overlooked in the liberation debate, such as whether using animals can be distinguished from exploiting them, whether liberationists should be moral vegetarians or vegans, and whether using animals for therapeutic purposes is morally blameless.

New York Times bestselling author Douglas Adams and zoologist Mark Carwardine take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures.

Join them as they encounter the animal kingdom in its stunning beauty, astonishing variety, and imminent peril: the giant Komodo dragon of Indonesia, the helpless but loveable Kakapo of New Zealand, the blind river dolphins of China, the white rhinos of Zaire, the rare birds of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean. Hilarious and poignant—as only Douglas Adams can be—Last Chance to See is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth’s magnificent wildlife galaxy.
 
Praise for Last Chance to See
 
“Lively, sharply satirical, brilliantly written . . . shows how human care can undo what human carelessness has wrought.”—The Atlantic

“These authors don’t hesitate to present the alarming facts: More than 1,000 species of animals (and plants) become extinct every year. . . . Perhaps Adams and Carwardine, with their witty science, will help prevent such misadventures in the future.”—Boston Sunday Herald
 
“Very funny and moving . . . The glimpses of rare fauna seem to have enlarged [Adams’s] thinking, enlivened his world; and so might the animals do for us all, if we were to help them live.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“[Adams] invites us to enter into a conspiracy of laughter and caring.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Amusing . . . thought-provoking . . . Its details on the heroic efforts being made to save these animals are inspirational.”—The New York Times Book Review
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