Intrinsic Value and Direct Duties: From Animal Ethics towards Environmental Ethics?
Three types of concern for animal welfare are widelyheld: Animals should feel well, they should function well, andthey should lead natural lives. The paper deals with a well-knownanswer to the question of why such concerns are morallyappropriate: Human beings have direct duties towards animals,because animals are beings that can flourish, the flourishing ofanimals is intrinsically or inherently valuable, and that whichis conducive to their flourishing is a legitimate object of moralconcern. Looking for a tenable conception of direct dutiestowards animals, the following questions are discussed: Whatshould we take it to mean that ``animal flourishing isintrinsically or inherently valuable?'' Under what conditions doesa living being's ability to flourish create direct duties towardsthis being? Is awareness or sentience required for there to bedirect duties towards a living being? Does such a requirementimply that moral concerns for animals would be limited to theirfeeling well, or does it also give way to having moral concernsfor their functioning well and leading natural lives? Can onetake into account considered judgements that claim that towardsdifferent animals we have moral duties that differ in kind and/orstrength? If environmental ethics cannot be based on theconception of direct duties here discussed, should one draw adistinction between duties towards ourselves, our fellow humanbeings, or animals, and duties regarding plants, or collectiveentities such as populations, species, and ecosystems?
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Fraser, D., D. M. Veary, E. A. Pajor, and B. N. Milligan, “A Scientific Conception of Animal Welfare that Reflects Ethical Concerns,” Animal Welfare 6 (1997), 187–205.Google Scholar
- Rollin, B. E., Animal Rights and Human Morality (Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1981).Google Scholar
- Rollin, B. E., The Frankenstein Syndrome: Ethical and Social Issues in the Genetic Engineering of Animals (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995).Google Scholar
- Taylor, P. W., Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1986).Google Scholar
- Warren, M. A., Moral Status: Obligations to Persons and Other Living Things (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1997).Google Scholar