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Applying Richards’ Relational Theory of Value to Animal Rights

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Graduate Student

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documents in English
term papers
3 pages
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  1. Introduction
  2. The moral dispute over the rights of nonhuman animals
  3. The arguments against the rights of animals
  4. The arguments for factory farming
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

The debate concerning the rights of animals has mostly been confined to assertions of absolute moral value. Before Peter Singer, nearly all philosophers declared animals inherently devoid of rights on various grounds. Traditional religious thinkers emphasized the soullessness of ?beasts? that makes them inferior to humans and therefore, free to be used by humans. Secular thinkers also excluded nonhuman animals from moral concern due to the animals' apparent lack of self-consciousness. When Singer began his defense of animals, he appealed to utilitarian arguments, in which the suffering of all beings, human or nonhuman is taken into account. I will take up a different line of argument in my defense of animal rights. Rather than attack the specific premises that ?speciesists? employ in their arguments against the existence of rights of animals, I will attack the belief in moral absolutes that their arguments rest upon. Drawing upon evolutionary theory, which has eroded the foundation of such moral judgments and exposed them as evolutionary adaptations, I will apply Richard Richards' relational theory of value to the problem of animal rights.

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