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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Animality and Morality: Human Reason as an Animal Activity

Christopher J. Preston

Environmental Values 11(2002): 427-442. doi: 10.3197/096327102129341163

Those in animal and environmental ethics wishing to extend moral considerability beyond the human community have at some point all had to counter the claim that it is reason that makes human distinct. Detailed arguments against the significance of reason have been rare due to the lack of any good empirical accounts of what reason actually is. Contemporary studies of the embodied mind are now able to fill this gap and show why reason is a poor choice for a criterion to distinguish us from non-human animals. I use studies of the embodied mind to show that rationality is integrally connected to our animal and animate nature and hence not a significant point of departure between human and non-human animals.

KEYWORDS: Rationality, embodied mind, animacy, moral considerability, language

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