Mark Coeckelbergh: Growing moral relations: critique of moral status ascription
In the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn (1962) famously distinguished between what he called “normal science” and those rare but necessary instances of paradigm shift, when there is a fundamental transformation in the very rules of the game. I do not think it is hyperbole to say that Mark Coeckelbergh’s Growing Moral Relations: Critique of Moral Status Ascription is a book that is situated at, and contributes to what can only be described as, a significant paradigm shift in moral thinking. It is, in other words, a real game changer.
The subject of Coeckelbergh’s book is moral status ascription, or more precisely the problem of deciding who is morally significant and what is not. These two small, seemingly simple words, as Jacques Derrida (2005, p. 80) has reminded us, are not unimportant. They make all the difference, for they distinguish between persons who have moral standing and what are considered to be mere things. This decision (quite literally a cut that is made...
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