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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8$
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Mark C. Timmons

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198828310

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198828310.001.0001

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Animal Selves and the Good

Animal Selves and the Good

Chapter:
(p.55) 3 Animal Selves and the Good
Source:
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8
Author(s):

Christine M. Korsgaard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198828310.003.0004

If we would save a human in preference to another animal, does that show that we must think humans are more valuable than the other animals? If everything that is good must be good for someone, it makes almost no sense to say that humans are more important than the other animals. This paper defends a theory of the good according to which everything that is good must be good from the point of view of a self. But the extent to which an animal has a self is a matter of degree, and that makes the extent to which things may be good or bad for animals a matter of degree. This may explain our intuitions about cases in which we would give the preference to people or the higher animals without invoking the absurd idea that some animals are more important than others.

Keywords:   animals, good, humans, saving lives, self, value

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