Download Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, by Gary Steiner PDF

By Gary Steiner

Gary Steiner argues that ethologists and philosophers within the analytic and continental traditions have principally didn't improve an enough clarification of animal habit. seriously attractive the positions of Marc Hauser, Daniel Dennett, Donald Davidson, John Searle, Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer, between others, Steiner indicates how the Western philosophical culture has compelled animals into human experiential different types that allows you to make experience in their cognitive talents and ethical prestige and the way desperately we'd like a brand new method of animal rights.

Steiner rejects the normal assumption loss of formal rationality confers an inferior ethical prestige on animals vis-à-vis humans. in its place, he bargains an associationist view of animal cognition within which animals snatch and adapt to their environments with no utilizing suggestions or intentionality. Steiner demanding situations the traditional assumption of liberal individualism in line with which people haven't any duties of justice towards animals. as a substitute, he advocates a "cosmic holism" that attributes an ethical prestige to animals reminiscent of that of individuals. Arguing for a courting of justice among people and nature, Steiner emphasizes our kinship with animals and the basic ethical duties entailed via this kinship.

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Additional info for Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, and Kinship

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The difference lies merely in the accident, the intellect, not in the substance which is the will. The world is not a piece of machinery and animals are not articles manufactured for our use. —SCHOPENHAUER, “On Religion” There is a long and regrettable history of thinking in the West according to which human beings are morally superior to animals and hence enjoy the prerogative to use animals for whatever purposes they see fit. A predominant tendency in this thinking is to suppose that our putatively superior intellect entitles us to treat animals as if they were created to satisfy our desires.

54 Such categories of the (quasi-) intentional would explain the abilities of animals to relate to their environments, without attributing such linguistically based mental phenomena as beliefs and desires to animals. Norman Malcolm attempts to explore this possibility by making a distinction between thinking that P and having the thought that P; thus the dog can think that the cat went up the tree, but it cannot have the thought that the cat went up the tree. To think that P in this sense is, on Malcolm’s view, much like the “thinking” at work when “a friend of mine and I are engrossed in an exciting conversation.

Do animals experience and evaluate the world in terms of beliefs, desires, and intentions? Given that human beings possess such cognitive capacities, should we conclude, by analogy, that animals possess them too? Cognitive ethologists acknowledge that analogy is the only methodological tool available when it comes to drawing inferences about the mental lives of animals. ” It thus seems unavoidable that we must at least begin by attributing to Chelsea certain beliefs and intentions. ”9 Even if we start by attributing such categories as belief, desire, and intention to animals, we must then reflect on our own mental lives and ask whether and to what extent our own actions are best accounted for through appeals to conscious states such as belief.

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