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AnimalsA History$
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Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375967.001.0001

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Kant on Animals

Kant on Animals

(p.211) Chapter Eight Kant on Animals

Patrick Kain

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Kant’s position concerning the nature of nonhuman animals and the moral obligations that humans have toward animals. It begins by describing Kant’s account of the nature of animals and the distinction between humans and nonhuman animals. It then moves on to explaining Kant’s account of the nature of moral obligation and his oft-misunderstood contention that we do not have “duties to” nonhuman animals but only “duties with regard to” these animals. The chapter corrects the orthodox reading of Kant’s position, which has it that he considers benevolence toward animals to be justified only by the effects of brutality on the human who commits brutal acts. Instead Kant argues that animals are worthy of admiration, love, sympathy and gratitude, despite not being “ends in themselves” like humans. Finally, the chapter considers Kant’s position in relation to that of another important eighteenth-century moral theorist, Francis Hutcheson.

Keywords:   Kant, morality, German philosophy, animal welfare, utilitarianism, Hutcheson

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