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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2018

Authors: Monsó, S; Benz-Schwarzburg, J; Bremhorst, A

Title: Animal Morality: What It Means and Why It Matters.

Source: J Ethics. 2018; 22(3):283-310

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Benz-Schwarzburg Judith
Monso Gil Susana

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Ethics and Human-Animal Studies

Project(s): Morality in animals:what it means and why it matters

It has been argued that some animals are moral subjects, that is, beings who are capable of behaving on the basis of moral motivations (Rowlands 2011, 2012, 2017). In this paper, we do not challenge this claim. Instead, we presuppose its plausibility in order to explore what ethical consequences follow from it. Using the capabilities approach (Nussbaum 2004, 2007), we argue that beings who are moral subjects are entitled to enjoy positive opportunities for the flourishing of their moral capabilities, and that the thwarting of these capabilities entails a harm that cannot be fully explained in terms of hedonistic welfare. We explore the implications of this idea for the assessment of current practices involving animals.

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