Animal Rights and Human Responsibilities: Towards a Relational Capabilities Approach in Animal Ethics
Description: In this thesis, I analyze some of the most important contributions concerning the inclusion of animals in the moral and political sphere. Moving from these positions, I suggest that a meaningful consideration of animals' sentience demands a profound, radical political theory which considers animals as moral patients endowed with specific capabilities whose actualization needs to be allowed and/or promoted. Such theory would take human-animal different types of relationships into account to decide what kind of ethical and political responsibilities humans have towards animals. It would be also based on the assumption that animals' sentience is the necessary and sufficient feature for assigning moral status. I start from the consideration that in the history of political philosophy, most theorists have excluded animals from the realm of justice. I then propose an examination of utilitarianism, capabilities approach, and relational-based theories of animal rights (in particular the works by Kymlicka and Donaldson, and Clare Palmer) and borrow essential elements from each of these approaches to build my theory. I claim that a political theory which attaches high importance to individual capabilities, as well as to the various types of relationships we have with animals, is the most appropriate to tackle the puzzle of human responsibilities to animals.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Guerini, Elena
Partner: UNT Libraries