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Schopenhauer on the Moral Considerability of Animals: Toward a Less Anthropocentric Ethics

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The Palgrave Schopenhauer Handbook

Part of the book series: Palgrave Handbooks in German Idealism ((PHGI))


It is well known that Schopenhauer was a big fan of poodles, keeping several in succession as companions throughout his days in Frankfurt am Main, and leaving a tidy sum for the care of his surviving dog in his will. But it is not well known that animals in general play a pivotal role in his philosophical system and in his ethical thought in particular. In this chapter, I aim to show that it is largely Schopenhauer’s thinking about non-human animals —specifically, his view that animals and human beings are on an epistemic and moral continuum—that grounds some of his major departures from Kant. Once appreciated, I suggest, Schopenhauer’s ethical thought in particular offers—with some significant reconstruction—a novel, and philosophically attractive option for contemporary ethical theory, because it takes animals ’ moral status seriously and offers a less anthropocentric approach to ethics .

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Correspondence to Sandra Shapshay .

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Shapshay, S. (2017). Schopenhauer on the Moral Considerability of Animals: Toward a Less Anthropocentric Ethics. In: Shapshay, S. (eds) The Palgrave Schopenhauer Handbook. Palgrave Handbooks in German Idealism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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