A Theory of Ecological Justice

By Brian Baxter | Go to book overview

4

The restriction of moral status to sentient organisms

In this chapter we turn to consider the first substantive issue that the case for ecological justice has to address, which concerns whether or not the granting of moral status to non-human organisms should be restricted only to that subsection of them which possess sentience. Ironically, some of the most persuasive philosophers who offer arguments for granting moral considerability to sentient non-humans are also among the most resolute in defending the view that sentience marks the limit of moral considerability. Two such authors are David DeGrazia and Peter Singer.


DeGrazia's case for the moral considerability of sentient non-humans

David DeGrazia's book does an excellent job of arguing that all sentient organisms matter, morally speaking. He pleads for a 'principle of equal consideration' extended to non-human animals (DeGrazia 1996:44-74), while at pains to emphasize that such a principle 'does not entail (1) identical rights for humans and animals, (2) a moral requirement to treat humans and animals equally, or (3) the absence of any morally interesting differences between animals and humans' (ibid.: 37-8). His arguments take full account of the most powerful earlier theories in this area, including the well-known and influential views of Singer (1990) and Regan (1983), and conceivably do a much more thorough job than do those authors of grounding the case for the moral considerability of sentient organisms in a detailed analysis of those organisms' mentality. His meta-ethical position is that of Rawlsian reflective equilibrium (DeGrazia 1996:12-14), which has the great advantage of avoiding the difficulties of foundationalism in ethics by locating moral thought within a holistic framework, but, as we will discover, has the disadvantage that some moral judgements are rejected on somewhat vague grounds, such as their not being readily fitted into the total view.

There is no space here to offer a detailed exposition of all DeGrazia's arguments. However, it will be useful to outline those which have a direct bearing on the topic of ecological justice. Firstly, the all-important 'principle of equal consideration' for non-human animals is intended to rule out a 'general discounting of animals' interests' (DeGrazia 1996:46). That is, for example, the counting less of a non-

-45-

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Theory of Ecological Justice
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen
/ 207

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    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.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.