In this paper, I argue that some of the disagreements about the continuity or discontinuity of human moral life with that of animals can be assuaged by drawing a distinction between two senses in which someone can be a ‘moral being’: being a moral agent (i.e. being morally responsible for one’s action) and being a moral judge (i.e. being able to form moral judgments). More precisely, I argue that it is not necessary to be a moral judge to be a moral agent, because moral actions (actions we are morally responsible for) don’t need to stem from moral judgments. Consequently, I argue that, even if moral judgment is highly likely to be a human specificity, moral agency is something that we might share with other animals, given that the only requisite to be a moral agent is to be able to be motivated by the fact that other entities do have interests.
Moral Judgment Moral Responsibility Moral Agent Epistemic Condition Peanut Butter
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This research was supported in part by a Grant from the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) (ANR Blanche: SoCoDev). I thank François Jacquet and an anonymous reviewer for useful comments on previous versions of this paper.
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