Animal Ethics in Context

Clare Palmer

Columbia University Press

Animal Ethics in Context

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Pub Date: September 2010

ISBN: 9780231129053

216 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: September 2010

ISBN: 9780231129046

216 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£75.00

Pub Date: September 2010

ISBN: 9780231503020

216 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

Animal Ethics in Context

Clare Palmer

Columbia University Press

It is widely agreed that because animals feel pain we should not make them suffer gratuitously. Some ethical theories go even further: because of the capacities that they possess, animals have the right not to be harmed or killed. These views concern what not to do to animals, but we also face questions about when we should, and should not, assist animals that are hungry or distressed. Should we feed a starving stray kitten? And if so, does this commit us, if we are to be consistent, to feeding wild animals during a hard winter?

In this controversial book, Clare Palmer advances a theory that claims, with respect to assisting animals, that what is owed to one is not necessarily owed to all, even if animals share similar psychological capacities. Context, history, and relation can be critical ethical factors. If animals live independently in the wild, their fate is not any of our moral business. Yet if humans create dependent animals, or destroy their habitats, we may have a responsibility to assist them. Such arguments are familiar in human cases-we think that parents have special obligations to their children, for example, or that some groups owe reparations to others. Palmer develops such relational concerns in the context of wild animals, domesticated animals, and urban scavengers, arguing that different contexts can create different moral relationships.

This book deserves significant attention.... Recommended.

Choice

Animal Ethics in Context is an intensively researched, carefully structured intervention in ongoing debates about animals and ethics by a scholar with an impressive grasp of the literature.

Alice Crary, New School for Social Research

The author offers the most careful treatment available of our moral obligations specifically to animals in the wild.

Jason Zinser, Quarterly Review of Biology

It makes an original and important contribution to the philosophical literature on animal ethics and would make an excellent textbook for an introductory philosophy course in animal ethics, as it introduces readers to a range of theories, problems, and arguments as well as developing the author's own thought-provoking position.

Chlöe Taylor, Journal for Critical Animal Studies
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Animals' Capacities and Moral Status
2. Capacity-Oriented Accounts of Animal Ethics
3. Capacities, Contexts, and Relations
4. Wildness, Domestication, and the Laissez-faire Intuition
5. Developing a New, Relational Approach
6. Past Harms and Special Obligations
7. Some Problems and Questions
8. Puzzling Through Some Cases
Conclusion
Works Cited
Index
Web Features:
  • Read Clare Palmer’s essay on the book in Rorotoko.

About the Author

Clare Palmer studied at Oxford University and is professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University. She is the author of Environmental Ethics and Process Thinking and has edited a number of volumes, including Animal Rights, and is a former president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics.