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Kooi, M.E. van der

Author: Merle van der Kooi
Graduation Year: 2010 (Research Master)
Department: Ethics
Title: Transcending Animal Ethics
In Transcending Animal Ethics it is argued that the traditional animal ethical approaches – as advocated by Peter Singer, Tom Regan and Martha Nussbaum – proceed from an anthropocentric foundation. Due to this anthropocentrism it seems theoretically impossible to grant nonhuman animals the status of  full moral beings who receive equal moral consideration; rather, nonhumans remain secondary beings whom we have invited in ‘our’ moral sphere. In order to regognise nonhumans as full moral beings, an alternative ethical foundation is needed. In order to propose such an alternative, non-anthropocentric, theory the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas is used as a starting point. The basic principle of his philosophy is that we, human subjects, are made responsible by the singularity of an other being. To Levinas this other is always a human other. However, given his own statements regarding the ‘nature’ of otherness, it is not tenable to deny nonhumans the singularity that makes the subject responsible. Introducing Derrida’s ‘tout autre est tout autre’, which means that every other being is wholly other, it is argued that there is simply no basis, no excuse, for denying the moral power of nonhumans; they have always already belonged to the moral domain. Hence, we can go beyond animal ethics with our Levinasian approach and recognise that we, human subjects, are made responsible by all other beings, human or nonhuman.
Laatst gewijzigd:01 november 2013 14:03