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Carrie Figdor, , . The Psychological Speciesism of Humanism
2020, Philosophical Studies [forthcoming]
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Carrie Figdor

Abstract: Humanists argue for assigning the highest moral status to all humans over any non-humans directly or indirectly on the basis of uniquely superior human cognitive abilities. They may also claim that humanism is the strongest position from which to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of within-species discrimination. I argue that changing conceptual foundations in comparative research and discoveries of advanced cognition in many non-human species reveal humanism’s psychological speciesism and its similarity with common justifications of within-species discrimination.

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Humphreys, Rebekah, , . Philosophy, ecology and elephant equality
2020, Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling, 28 (11), 2020, 1-4
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The considerable conservation research on environmental problems and climate change tends to focus on species “biodiversity” rather than individuals. Individuals of the same species get categorized as “wild” or “captive”, with the latter often omitted from conservationists’ concerns. But wild and captive animals, although they may require different treatment, have comparable interests as individuals. Equity requires taking this into account in conservation efforts.

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Hurley, Susan, , . Animal Action in the Space of Reasons
2003, Mind and Language 18(3): 231-256.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: I defend the view that we should not overintellectualize the mind. Nonhuman animals can occupy islands of practical rationality: they can have contextbound reasons for action even though they lack full conceptual abilities. Holism and the possibility of mistake are required for such reasons to be the agent’s reasons, but these requirements can be met in the absence of inferential promiscuity. Empirical work with animals is used to illustrate the possibility that reasons for action could be bound to symbolic or social contexts, and connections are made to simulationist accounts of cognitive skills.

Comment: An excellent argument in favour of a less-intellectual criteria for reason-having. The arguments are clear and compelling, though at least some familiarity with action theory would be helpful to give proper context. Recommended for higher-level or more in-depth examinations of reasons, as its relevance is partly dependent on some of the other arguments made on the subject.

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