Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy

Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy

Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy

Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy

Excerpt

My purpose in this book is to rework the theory of animal rights and suggest some new directions. By animal rights I do not mean a utilitarian theory of animal liberation in Peter Singer's sense. Despite the great debt we owe to Singer for inspiring the modern movement for animal rights, I believe his case for respecting animal interests is theoretically inadequate. Singer's argument for animal liberation is founded on utilitarianism, which fails as moral philosophy. In the opening chapter of this volume, I shall restate the standard critique of that position, and I shall also try to show that there are several important issues on which Singer cannot give nonhuman animals the consideration they deserve.

There are of course a number of utilitarians, or theorists influenced by the utilitarian position, who have contributed thoughtful pieces along the lines laid down by Singer. But it is no part of my project in this book to provide a history of doctrines or even to supply an outline of that history in recent times. I have concentrated on Singer because he best represents the central tenets and applications of the position. I shall also deal with R.G. Frey as one utilitarian who is diametrically opposed to granting moral consideration to animals. A position like Frey's is rare . . .

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