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Animal Ethics and the Argument from Absurdity

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Arguments for the inherent value, equality of interests, or rights of non-human animals have presented a strong challenge for the anthropocentric worldview. However, they have been met with criticism. One form of criticism maintains that, regardless of their theoretical consistency, these 'pro-animal arguments' cannot be accepted due to their absurdity. Often, particularly inter-species interest conflicts are brought to the fore: if pro-animal arguments were followed, we could not solve interest conflicts between species, which is absurd. Because of this absurdity, the arguments need to be abandoned. The paper analyses the strength, background and relevance of this 'argument from absurdity'. It is claimed that in all of the three areas mentioned above, the argument faces severe difficulties.
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Keywords: animal ethics; equality; interest conflicts; lifeboat dilemma; rights

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-02-01

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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 a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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