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Environmental Values

Animal Ethics and the Argument from Absurdity

Elisa Aaltola

Environmental Values 19 (2010): 79-98. doi: 10.3197/096327110X485392


Arguments for the inherent value, equality of interests, or rights of non-human animals have presented a strong challenge for the anthropocentric worldview. However, they have been met with criticism. One form of criticism maintains that, regardless of their theoretical consistency, these 'pro-animal arguments' cannot be accepted due to their absurdity. Often, particularly inter-species interest conflicts are brought to the fore: if pro-animal arguments were followed, we could not solve interest conflicts between species, which is absurd. Because of this absurdity, the arguments need to be abandoned. The paper analyses the strength, background and relevance of this 'argument from absurdity'. It is claimed that in all of the three areas mentioned above, the argument faces severe difficulties.


Animal ethics, rights, equality, interest conflicts, life-boat dilemma

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Non-Anthropocentrism? A Killing Objection. Tony Lynch and David Wells

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