Are Animals Persons? Why Ask?

Journal of Animal Ethics (2019) Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (1): 6–26.

Posted: 15 Jun 2019

See all articles by Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry

McGill University - Faculty of Law; McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy

Date Written: June 1, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Beaudry, Jonas-Sébastien, Are Animals Persons? Why Ask? (June 1, 2019). Journal of Animal Ethics (2019) Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (1): 6–26. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3399028

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada

McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy ( email )

Charles Meredith House
1130 Pine Avenue West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1A3
Canada

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