Environmental Ethics, Ecological Theology, and Natural Selection

By Lisa H. Sideris | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER 4
Darwinian Equality for All
Secular Views of Animal Rights and Liberation

If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that
suffering into consideration.… The limit of sentience is the only defensible
boundary of concern for the interests of others.

—Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

There are times, and these are not infrequent, when tears come to my eyes when
J see, or read, or hear of the wretched plight of animals in the hands of hu-
mans. Their pain, their suffering, their loneliness, their innocence, their death.
Anger. Rage. Pity. Sorrow. Disgust. The whole creation groans under the
weight of the evil we humans visit upon these mute, powerless creatures. The
fate of animals is in our hands. God grant us we are equal to the task.

—Tom Regan, "The Radical Egalitarian Case for Animal Rights"

In the present chapter we turn from a discussion of ecological theology and examine some important arguments in secular ethics regarding human obligations toward other forms of life. Animal rights and liberation arguments flourished in the 1970s in the wake of civil rights movements and a surge of interest in ecological issues. A link to civil rights concepts is apparent in Peter Singer and Tom Regan's arguments, both of which extend to animals certain ethical categories and assumptions traditionally restricted to human beings. The concept of rights, of course, has a long and rich history in Western social and political thought. Regan's argument is both modest and radical in its claim that this concept ought to include most—and perhaps all—nonhuman animals as well. Singer's ethics, and especially his concept of persons, also involves expanding traditional categories of human interests and capacities to include (most) animals. Thus Regan and Singer take an approach

-131-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Environmental Ethics, Ecological Theology, and Natural Selection
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 312

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?