Are Animals Persons? Why Ask?
Journal of Animal Ethics (2019) Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (1): 6–26.
Posted: 15 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 1, 2019
This article reflects upon the increasingly popular claim that animals are persons. Such a claim can take a metaphysical, a moral, or a legal meaning. Animals may or may not be persons, but I challenge the assumption that it is even fruitful to think about the ways in which animals are “persons.” At best, it is a relatively narrow assimilationist conceptual exercise. At worst, it distracts us from conceptualizing more effective strategies to improve the welfare of animals and impoverishes more promising avenues of philosophical investigation on interspecies relations and on the nature and moral status of both animals and human beings.
Keywords: personhood, animals, human beings, assimilation, speciesism
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