Moral Anthropocentrism, Non-Paradigmatic Cases, and Speciesism
Relevant theories that, in principle, provide arguments in support of the utilisation of animals for human ends and benefits are so-called “indirect duty” views and contractarianism, with its idea of “justice-as-reciprocity”. These views, which grant animals at best moral object status, are loosely subsumable under the label of (moral or ethical) anthropocentrism, or “human-centred ethics”. They prove to be vulnerable either to the argument from non-paradigmatic cases or to the argument from speciesism, or both. The former states that any account designed to exclude animals from the realm of (directly) morally considerable beings will also exclude certain human beings. The latter holds that so excluding animals simply on the basis of their not being human, is an irrational prejudice not unlike that involved in sexism and racism.