Download Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, by Gary Steiner PDF

By Gary Steiner

ISBN-10: 023114234X

ISBN-13: 9780231142342

Gary Steiner argues that ethologists and philosophers within the analytic and continental traditions have mostly did not increase an sufficient rationalization of animal habit. significantly enticing the positions of Marc Hauser, Daniel Dennett, Donald Davidson, John Searle, Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer, between others, Steiner indicates how the Western philosophical culture has compelled animals into human experiential different types as a way to make feel in their cognitive skills and ethical prestige and the way desperately we'd like a brand new method of animal rights.

Steiner rejects the conventional assumption loss of formal rationality confers an inferior ethical prestige on animals vis-à-vis humans. as an alternative, he deals an associationist view of animal cognition during which animals clutch and adapt to their environments with no applying ideas or intentionality. Steiner demanding situations the normal assumption of liberal individualism based on which people don't have any responsibilities of justice towards animals. as a substitute, he advocates a "cosmic holism" that attributes an ethical prestige to animals comparable to that of individuals. Arguing for a dating of justice among people and nature, Steiner emphasizes our kinship with animals and the elemental ethical responsibilities entailed through this kinship.

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Additional info for Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, and Kinship

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When a potential predator comes close to the plover’s young in the nest, the plover lures the intruder away from the nest by fluttering and dragging its outstretched wings along the ground, as if to suggest it had a broken wing. The plover may emit loud squawks while exhibiting this behavior to attract the intruder’s attention. Once the intruder has followed the plover away from the nest—often hundreds of meters—the plover takes off and returns to the nest and its young, leaving the potential predator far away.

7 Animals are unable to step back from these experiences and evaluate them. For example, when a sheep sees a wolf, the sheer perception of the wolf causes the sheep to run away. Unable to contemplate the wolf as a wolf and to consider whether running away is the best course of action, the sheep simply automatically runs away. The sheep’s “belief” that the wolf poses a threat and its “desire” to run away are both understood functionally: we see the sheep run away, so we describe the sheep as having “wanted” to run away.

It seems plausible to suppose that there are basic similarities between human and animal experience. But in making this supposition, we need not rush to assume that animals are rational. Another way to approach the problem is to recognize that a great many human mental operations and behaviors occur at a sub- or pre-rational, pre-linguistic level, and that this level of experience is really what makes animals most like us from a cognitive standpoint. After examining some key debates in contemporary philosophy and ethology concerning the nature of animal cognition, I conclude the first half of this book by sketching a theory of the mental lives of animals that appeals to Humean associations rather than to conceptual and predicative abilities in the endeavor to account for animal behavior.

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