New PDF release: Animals, Rights and Reason in Plutarch and Modern Ethics

By Stephen T. Newmyer

ISBN-10: 0415240468

ISBN-13: 9780415240468

ISBN-10: 0415240476

ISBN-13: 9780415240475

This groundbreaking quantity explores Plutarch's distinctive survival within the argument that animals are rational and sentient, and that we, as people, needs to take detect in their interests.

Exploring Plutarch's 3 animal-related treatises, in addition to passages from his moral treatises, Stephen Newmyer examines arguments that, strikingly, foreshadow these present in the works of such famous animal rights philosophers as Peter Singer and Tom Regan.

Unique in viewing Plutarch’s critiques not just within the context of historical philosophical and moral via, but in addition as an alternative within the background of animal rights hypothesis, Animals Rights and Reasons issues out how remarkably Plutarch differs from such anti-animal thinkers because the Stoics.

Classicists, philosophers, animal-welfare scholars and readers will all locate this publication a useful and informative addition to their reading.

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Additional info for Animals, Rights and Reason in Plutarch and Modern Ethics

Sample text

Cicero’s point, and that of his Stoic sources here, is that humans can owe nothing to creatures that are so alien to themselves that they cannot understand and verbalize a conception of morality: that is, animals cannot express their intention to respect the rights of humans and their desire to have their rights 25 THE NATURE OF THE BEAST respected in turn by humans. 73 In practical terms, the assertion of an unbridgeable gulf between animalkind and humankind gave humans permission to use animals as they saw fit.

To illustrate the topic just discussed at length, namely that some species naturally aim more toward virtue than do some others, Autobulus observes (962F) that hippopotamuses will eat their parents while storks care for theirs, just as some species of birds are more solicitous in caring for their nestlings than are others. To make such observations, Autobulus argues (963A), strikes us as perfectly sensible, while to assert that one tree is less intelligent than another strikes us as absurd, and this is so precisely because all animal species have some share of the rational faculty while we tacitly recognize that mute creations like trees do not.

We may after all owe something to those who cannot owe us anything in return. Philosopher Stephen R. L. Clark eloquently expresses his doubts concerning the assumptions of the Stoics and their contractualist offspring: Contractual theorists from Protagoras onward have imagined society as a sort of corporation. Stoics employed this analogy to give men a sense of companionship in the whole kin-group of humanity. 86 Clark, who demonstrates a deeper appreciation for the ancient contribution to philosophical speculation on the intellectual and moral status of animals visà-vis their human counterparts than is in general encountered in contemporary animal rights literature, advocates what might be termed an ethic of inclusion that focuses on what he perceives to be similarities between human beings and animals as the starting point for ethical discourse on man’s proper stance toward non-human species, in contrast to the ethic of exclusion observable in the Stoics and their intellectual descendants.

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Animals, Rights and Reason in Plutarch and Modern Ethics by Stephen T. Newmyer


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