A common view in contemporary work on animal ethics is that animals should be recognized as having the same moral status as people. (After all, “pain is pain,” as the point is sometimes put.) However, in a recent book, How to Count Animals, more or less, philosopher Shelly Kagan argues instead for a hierarchical approach, according to which although animals do have moral standing, they have a lower moral status than people have (with some animals having lower status than others). In this talk Professor Kagan will introduce the dominant “unitarian” account, sketch two main arguments against it, and note some possible worries about the hierarchical alternative.
Shelly Kagan is the Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. His books include The Limits of Morality, Normative Ethics, and The Geometry of Desert. A popular lecturer at Yale, the videos of the lectures from his class on death (available online at http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/death/) have been viewed millions of times around the world, and his book based on the class, Death, has been a national bestseller in S. Korea and Japan.
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