Animal Ethics and the Nonconformist Conscience

  • Philip J. Sampson

Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 1-11
  3. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 13-26
  4. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 27-44
  5. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 45-61
  6. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 63-84
  7. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 85-102
  8. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 103-119
  9. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 121-132
  10. Philip J. Sampson
    Pages 133-154
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 155-160

About this book


This book explores the religious language of Nonconformity used in ethical debates about animals. It uncovers a rich stream of innovative discourse from the Puritans of the seventeenth century, through the Clapham Sect and Evangelical Revival, to the nineteenth century debates about vivisection. This discourse contributed to law reform and the foundation of the RSPCA, and continues to flavour the way we talk about animal welfare and animal rights today. Shaped by the "nonconformist conscience", it has been largely overlooked. The more common perception is that Christian “dominion” authorises the human exploitation of animals, while Enlightenment humanism and Darwinian thought are seen as drawing humans and animals together in one "family". This book challenges that perception, and proposes an alternative perspective. Through exploring the shaping of animal advocacy discourses by Biblical themes of creation, fall and restoration, this book reveals the continuing importance of the nonconformist conscience as a source to enrich animal ethics today. It will appeal to the animal studies community, theologians and early modern historians.


nonconformist conscience ethical debate religious discourse secular discourse history of language neo-Darwinian biology

Authors and affiliations

  • Philip J. Sampson
    • 1
  1. 1.Oxford Centre for Animal EthicsOxfordUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information