By Alasdair Cochrane
Structured round the 5 most crucial colleges inside modern political idea: liberalism, utilitarianism, communitarianism, Marxism and feminism,this is the 1st introductory point textual content to provide an available assessment at the prestige of animals in modern political theory.
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Extra resources for An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory
After all, we all belong to a wide variety of biological and social groups, and many of us have stronger bonds with these groups than we do with our species. And yet, few claim that it is permissible for whites to favour the interests of their fellow race, or women to favour the interests of their fellow gender. It thus seems odd to claim that favouring one’s own species is permissible, but that favouring one’s own race, gender, class and so on is impermissible. As such, it would appear that Singer is right to suggest 38 An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory that speciesism is morally problematic, because of the simple fact that species is not a morally relevant category.
11 However, there are some important problems with this type of argument. In the ﬁrst place, one can question the dubious picture of species solidarity that Petrinovich paints. After all, individual animals do associate and mate with individuals from other species, they do ﬁght and kill members of their own species, and they even eat the young of their own species. As such, favouring one’s own species in not a clear and unambiguous natural fact of life as Petrinovich suggests. Secondly, even if it were, what does that prove ethically?
Of course, the reason why animals cannot participate in the formation of any contract is not so much because they cannot reason at all, but rather, that they cannot perform a particular type of reasoning. 37 And it is surely the capacity for ethical reﬂection and choice – or ‘autonomy’ – which seems crucial for the formation of a contract. However, the thinker most famously associated with the prizing of autonomy is not Rousseau, but rather the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). Kant claimed that human beings possess dignity.
An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory by Alasdair Cochrane