Arguments

In public debates, animals feature in the contexts of rather different arguments. These arguments can be roughly divided into four categories in terms of their respective concerns: (1) the life and well-being of animals; (2) the life and well-being of other human beings; (3) moral agents’ own life and well-being; and (4) the (natural) environment.

Arguments from the last two categories may be characterised as prudential, self-regarding or egoistic while arguments from the first two categories qualify as moral arguments, i.e. they are other-regarding or altruistic. However, as regards animals, it is only category (1) that contains direct moral arguments whereas the arguments in category (2) are indirect moral arguments.

Arguments from all of these categories can – and in fact do – play important roles in discussing animal-related contexts and in everyday situations of animal advocacy. Strictly speaking, however, it is only the first category, namely direct moral arguments, that can ground animal rights as such.

Therefore, and since this category is the most challenging one, this website first and foremost concentrates on direct moral arguments while it considers arguments from the other categories only marginally – at least for the time being.

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