Shelly Kagan

Dec 6, 2023

How to Count Animals, More Or Less

Oxford University Press 2019

Most people agree that animals count morally, but how exactly should we take animals into account? A prominent stance in contemporary ethical discussions is that animals have the same moral status that people do, and so in moral deliberation the similar interests of animals and people should be given the very same consideration. 

In How to Count Animals, More Or Less (Oxford UP, 2019), Shelly Kagan sets out and defends a hierarchical approach in which people count more than animals do and some animals count more than others. For the most part, moral theories have not been developed in such a way as to take account of differences in status. By arguing for a hierarchical account of morality - and exploring what status sensitive principles might look like - Kagan reveals just how much work needs to be done to arrive at an adequate view of our duties toward animals, and of morality more generally.

Shelly Kagan is the Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale, where he has taught since 1995. He was an undergraduate at Wesleyan University and received his PhD in philosophy from Princeton University in 1982. Before coming to Yale, Professor Kagan taught at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of The Limits of Morality, Normative Ethics, and The Geometry of Desert. The videos of his undergraduate class on death (available online) have been popular around the world, and the book based on the course, Death, was a national bestseller in South Korea.

Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter.

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Morteza Hajizadeh

Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter.

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