Next Article in Journal
Genomic Prediction and Association Analysis with Models Including Dominance Effects for Important Traits in Chinese Simmental Beef Cattle
Next Article in Special Issue
An Alternative to the Orthodoxy in Animal Ethics? Limits and Merits of the Wittgensteinian Critique of Moral Individualism
Previous Article in Journal
Horse Welfare During Equine Chorionic Gonadotropin (eCG) Production
Previous Article in Special Issue
Misadventures of Sentience: Animals and the Basis of Equality
Open AccessArticle

The Speciesism Debate: Intuition, Method, and Empirical Advances

Institut für Philosophie, University of Graz, Heinrichstrasse 26/V, 8010 Graz, Austria
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121054
Received: 27 September 2019 / Revised: 8 November 2019 / Accepted: 15 November 2019 / Published: 1 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Ethics: Questioning the Orthodoxy)
An influential idea in animal ethics is that moral favouritism towards members of one’s own species is a prejudice. This prejudice has been labelled ‘speciesism’, in analogy with racism and sexism. But not all ethicists subscribe to the view that speciesism is a prejudice. In fact, the tenability of speciesism is a topic of ongoing ethical debate. A recent exchange between Peter Singer and Shelly Kagan might leave the impression that this debate has essentially reached a stalemate, since the disputing parties rely on irreconcilable moral intuitions. In the present article, I argue that this impression is misleading. I highlight both philosophical and empirical research avenues that can help to move the speciesism debate forward, emphasizing that not all ethical intuitions about speciesism should be given equal weight. The article is part of the special issue ‘Animal Ethics: Questioning the Orthodoxy’.
This article identifies empirical, conceptual and normative avenues to advance the speciesism debate. First, I highlight the application of Evolutionary Debunking Arguments (EDAs) as one such avenue: especially where (anti-)speciesist positions heavily rely on appeals to moral intuition, and EDAs have potential to move the debate forward. Second, an avenue for conceptual progress is the delineation of speciesism from other views in its vicinity, specifically from the view that biological differences between species are sometimes morally relevant (‘species-relativism’). Third, if we adopt Singer’s definition of speciesism, then a limitation of the current debate is that it is not obvious whether the core ethical principle that underlies anti-speciesist positions—the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests—is widely applicable. Arguably, the interests of animals are often too dissimilar to establish what equal consideration amounts to. I underscore the need for integrating philosophical and empirical research, to come to terms with the extent to which the interests of members of different species are alike, and with the question of whether any dissimilarities might be morally relevant. View Full-Text
Keywords: speciesism; intuition; evolutionary debunking arguments; moral psychology; species-relativism; cumulative culture; Peter Singer; Shelly Kagan; Bernard Williams speciesism; intuition; evolutionary debunking arguments; moral psychology; species-relativism; cumulative culture; Peter Singer; Shelly Kagan; Bernard Williams
MDPI and ACS Style

Hopster, J. The Speciesism Debate: Intuition, Method, and Empirical Advances. Animals 2019, 9, 1054. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121054

AMA Style

Hopster J. The Speciesism Debate: Intuition, Method, and Empirical Advances. Animals. 2019; 9(12):1054. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121054

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hopster, Jeroen. 2019. "The Speciesism Debate: Intuition, Method, and Empirical Advances" Animals 9, no. 12: 1054. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121054

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop