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Biology, Ethics, and Animals$
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Rosemary Rodd

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198240525

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240525.001.0001

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The Status of Animals

The Status of Animals

(p.223) 10 The Status of Animals
Biology, Ethics, and Animals

Rosemary Rodd

Oxford University Press

This chapter hopes to show how a theory of sociobiology of ethics could be developed in a way which does allow for the full richness of human moral thought, and to describe its particular relevance to the way we treat animals. If morality is a sociobiological phenomenon, then evidence that human-animal relationships are often complex, requiring that the human partners engage in social reasoning of the kind involved in inter-human relationship, will lead weight to the idea that ethical thoughts has an important part to play in regulating such interactions. Accepting that animals have moral status and/or rights cannot be expected to eliminate moral dilemmas about the way we should act towards them. The question of whether animals should be classified as a type of person is less important to a consideration of their moral status than that of their ability to feel and to foresee pain and other harms.

Keywords:   sociobiology, ethics, morality, dilemmas, persons, pain

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