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Book Title: Can Animals Be Moral?|
The author of the book: Mark Rowlands
ISBN 13: 9780199842001
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 25.48 MB
Edition: Oxford University Press, USA
Date of issue: November 1st 2012
Reader ratings: 5.3
Loaded: 253 times
Read full description of the books Can Animals Be Moral?:
From eye-witness accounts of elephants apparently mourning the death of family members to an experiment that showed that hungry rhesus monkeys would not take food if doing so gave another monkey an electric shock, there is much evidence of animals displaying what seem to be moral feelings. But despite such suggestive evidence, philosophers steadfastly deny that animals can act morally, and for reasons that virtually everyone has found convincing.
In Can Animals be Moral?, philosopher Mark Rowlands examines the reasoning of philosophers and scientists on this question--ranging from Aristotle and Kant to Hume and Darwin--and reveals that their arguments fall far short of compelling. The basic argument against moral behavior in animals is that humans have capabilities that animals lack. We can reflect on our motivations, formulate abstract principles that allow that allow us to judge right from wrong. For an actor to be moral, he or she must be able scrutinize their motivations and actions. No animal can do these things--no animal is moral. Rowland naturally agrees that humans possess a moral consciousness that no animal can rival, but he argues that it is not necessary for an individual to have the ability to reflect on his or her motives to be moral. Animals can't do all that we can do, but they can act on the basis of some moral reasons--basic moral reasons involving concern for others. And when they do this, they are doing just what we do when we act on the basis of these reasons: They are acting morally.
Read information about the authorMark Rowlands was born in Newport, Wales and began his undergraduate degree at Manchester University in engineering before changing to philosophy. He took his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University and has held various academic positions in philosophy in universities in Britain, Ireland and the US.
His best known work is the book The Philosopher and the Wolf about a decade of his life he spent living and travelling with a wolf. As The Guardian described it in its review, "it is perhaps best described as the autobiography of an idea, or rather a set of related ideas, about the relationship between human and non-human animals." Reviews were very positive, the Financial Times said it was "a remarkable portrait of the bond that can exist between a human being and a beast,". Mark Vernon writing in The Times Literary Supplement "found the lessons on consciousness, animals and knowledge as engaging as the main current of the memoir," and added that it "could become a philosophical cult classic", while John Gray in the Literary Review thought it "a powerfully subversive critique of the unexamined assumptions that shape the way most philosophers - along with most people - think about animals and themselves." However, Alexander Fiske-Harrison for Prospect warned that "if you combine misanthropy and lycophilia, the resulting hybrid, lycanthropy, is indeed interesting, but philosophically quite sterile" and that, although Rowlands "acknowledges at the beginning of the book that he cannot think like a wolf... for such a capable philosopher and readable author not to have made the attempt is indeed an opportunity missed."
As a professional philosopher, Rowlands is known as one of the principal architects of the view known as vehicle externalism or the extended mind, and also for his work on the moral status of animals.
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