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Humean Nature

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It has been argued that there is an irreconcilable difference between those advocating animal liberation or animal rights, on the one hand, and those preferring a wider environmental ethic, which includes concern for non-sentient life-forms and species preservation, on the other. In contrast, I argue that it is possible to provide foundations for both seemingly environmentalist positions by exploring some of the potential of a 'collective-projectivist' reading of Hume - one that seems more consistent with Hume's texts than other readings. In short, this article seeks to advance our understanding of some of the possibilities within Humean moral theory, while simultaneously providing new foundations for both animal welfare and a wider environmental ethic.

Keywords: animal rights; intrinsic value; projectivism; secondary qualities; subjectivism; sympathy; welfare

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2000

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2015) of 1.311.
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