Humans encounter and use animals in a stunning number of ways. The nature of these animals and the justifiability or unjustifiabilitly of human uses of them are the subject matter of this volume.
Philosophers have long been intrigued by animal minds and vegetarianism, but only around the last quarter of the twentieth century did a significant philosophical literature begin to be developed on both the scientific study of animals and the ethics of human uses of animals. This literature had a primary focus on discussion of animal psychology, the moral status of animals, the nature and significance of species, and a number of practical problems. This Oxford Handbook is designed to capture the nature of the questions as they stand today and to propose solutions to many of the major problems. Several chapters in this volume explore matters that have never previously been examined by philosophers.
The authors of the thirty-five chapters come from a diverse set of philosophical interests in the History of Philosophy, the Philosophy of Mind, the Philosophy of Biology, the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, the Philosophy of Language, Ethical Theory, and Practical Ethics. They explore many theoretical issues about animal minds and an array of practical concerns about animal products, farm animals, hunting, circuses, zoos, the entertainment industry, safety-testing on animals, the status and moral significance of species, environmental ethics, the nature and significance of the minds of animals, and so on. They also investigate what the future may be expected to bring in the way of new scientific developments and new moral problems.
This book of original essays is the most comprehensive single volume ever published on animal minds and the ethics of our use of animals.
Tom L. Beauchamp is Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University and Senior Research Scholar, Kennedy Institute of Ethics R. G. Frey (1941-2012) was Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University.