Kantian duties towards nature: humans and other animals

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Paweł Łuków


The confrontation of the dominant perspectives on the ethics of the relationship between humans and other animals with the Kantian proposal shows that its situation is not significantly worse than that of its competitors. First, many criticisms of Kant’s ethics are based on a selective reading of his works, and some of those criticisms show little knowledge of Kant’s actual views. Secondly, demands to adapt moral theory to selected moral intuitions uncritically assume that these intuitions are sound. Thirdly, many critics require that the ethics of the relationship between human and non-human animals satisfy theoretical demands which are not the only plausible way of including non-human animals in a human moral perspective. This is particularly true of the question of the directness of obligations to non-human animals. A consideration of the question of the moral significance of non-human animals and of the nature of human obligations to them against the background of Kant’s non-naturalistic approach to the good and of his view of the role of embodiment in the realization of the good shows that Kantian ethics contains theoretical resources which are sufficient for a serious moral treatment of non-human animals and for the articulation of many contemporary moral intuitions concerning those animals.


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ŁUKÓW, P. Kantian duties towards nature: humans and other animals. Diametros, n. 9, p. 51-73, 1 Sep. 2006.
Ecology and Ethics
Author Biography

Paweł Łuków

Dr hab. Paweł Łuków, adiunkt w Instytucie Filozofii UW i w Szkole Zdrowia Publicznego CMKP. Publikuje prace poświęcone etyce Kanta i jej recepcji w filozofii anglosaskiej, moralnym aspektom klonowania, racjonowaniu opieki medycznej, relacji lekarz-pacjent. Autor książek: Wolność i autorytet rozumu. Racjonalność w filozofii moralnej Kanta (1997) oraz Granice zgody: autonomia zasad i dobro pacjenta (2005).
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