Animal Suffering and Moral Salience: A Defense of Kant’s Indirect View

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Department or Administrative Unit

Philosophy and Religious Studies

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Although Immanuel Kant prohibits the mistreatment of animals on moral grounds, most animal welfare and animal rights theorists dismiss Kant’s ethical theory because of its speciesism. Kant condemns unnecessary animal suffering by emphasizing its effects on human beings and only indirectly considers the well-being of animals themselves. It is surprising, then, that so many Kant scholars have recently attempted to defend his view of animal ethics. Roughly speaking, they fall into two camps: expositors of Kant such as Patrick Kain and I, who argue for the plausibility of his stated view that animals are only indirectly considerable; and critics such as Allen Wood and Christine Korsgaard, who reject the indirect view and claim that they can justify direct moral duties to animals on Kantian grounds.


This article was originally published in The Journal of Value Inquiry. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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The Journal of Value Inquiry


© Springer Nature B.V. 2018