Are All Species Equal?

Species egalitarianism is the view that all living things have equal moral standing. To have moral standing is, at a minimum, to command respect, to be more than a mere thing. Is there reason to believe that all living things have moral standing in even this most minimal sense? If so—that is, if all living things command respect—is there reason to believe that they all command equal respect?

I will try to explain why members of other species command our respect but also why they do not command equal respect. The intuition that we should have respect for nature is one motive for embracing species egalitarianism, but we need not be species egalitarians to have respect for nature. Indeed, I will question whether species egalitarianism is even compatible with respect for nature.

Published in: Journal of Applied Philosophy
2000
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