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Title: Ethical Implications of Animal Personhood and the Role for Science
Authors: Andrews, Kristin
Keywords: Personhoodanimalsagencyanimal personsmoral consideration
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Kristin Andrews, "Ethical Implications of Animal Personhood and the Role for Science" in: "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2020) XXII/1", EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, Trieste, 2020, pp. 13-32
Journal: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 
Personhood is a normative concept applied to beings who are due moral consideration given their
agential and social properties. While the concept is a normative one, knowing how to appropriately
apply the concept is a descriptive project, requiring guidance from scientists who can help to uncover
whether or not a being has the relevant properties. If our current science attributes properties sufficient for personhood to a nonhuman animal, then we can directly conclude that the individual is
morally considerable. However, from the mere fact that an animal is a person, we cannot draw any
specific conclusions about appropriate treatment for captive animals. I will argue that from the premise
that an animal is a person we cannot directly conclude that the animal should be released from
captivity, should not participate in research, should not participate in ecotourist schemes, or engage
in other work; further descriptive premises would be needed. Such premises can only be supplied
by experts who know the animal and the animal’s context. With respect to the descriptive project,
animal ethicists need to defer to folk experts and scientists who are able to make informed judgements
about what is best for a particular animal. This requires a collaborative relationship of trust
between scientists and ethicists in order to best respect animal persons.
Type: Article
ISBN: 1825-5167
DOI: 10.13137/1825-5167/30603
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2020) XXII/1

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