The Philosophical Problem of Welfare

  • John HadleyEmail author


In this chapter I explain the philosophical problem of welfare. The philosophical problem of welfare is also known as the changing the subject problem. The problem arises as a consequence of the background framing assumptions operative on all sides in the contemporary animal ethics debate. The assumptions are metaphilosophical, metaphysical and epistemological. The most important framing assumption is philosophical realism and its attendant representational view of language. In line with realism, questions have once and for all answers and conceptual definitions are set in stone. The result is that any attempt to broaden the concept of welfare beyond the feelings-focused orthodoxy to encompass nonhedonistic considerations can be fairly accused of changing the subject.


Changing the subject problem Inherent value Dignity Respect Public reason Moral pluralism Rationalism Philosophical realism Moral realism Truth Reductionism 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Sydney UniversityPenrithAustralia

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