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Animal moral psychologies

Monsó, Susana and Andrews, Kristin (2022) Animal moral psychologies. In: Vargas, Manuel and Doris, John M., (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 388 - 420. ISBN 9780198871712

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Identification Number: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198871712.013.22


Observations of animals engaging in apparently moral behaviour have prompted the question of whether morality is shared between humans and other animals, with little agreement on the answer. Some philosophers explicitly argue that morality is unique to humans, because moral agency requires capacities that are only demonstrated in our species. Other philosophers argue that some animals can participate in morality because they possess these capacities in a rudimentary form, or because the touted capacities are not necessary for moral participation. Empirical research programs on possible moral capacities such as fairness and empathy have seen scientists joining in these debates. We argue that the current debate suffers because discussions often fail to provide both a proper philosophical foundation about the nature of moral practices and a solid empirical ground for claims about what animals can and cannot do. In this chapter we focus on the second of these issues, and defend the claim that animals have three sets of capacities that, on some views, are taken as necessary or foundational for moral judgment and action. These are capacities of care, capacities of autonomy, and normative capacities. Care, we argue, is widely found among social animals. Autonomy and normativity are more recent topics of empirical investigation, so while there is less evidence of these capacities at this point in our developing scientific knowledge, the current data is strongly suggestive.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2022 09:03
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2024 03:33

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