The Ethics of Animal Advocacy: Towards Biocentric Individualism

  • Mark Reardon

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The contemporary animal rights movement, in extending moral consideration to
    nonhuman animals, has in diverse ways already contributed to an expansion of the boundaries of the ethical community and what that may constitute. However, many environmentalists argue there is a failure within animal ethics to adequately address wider animal advocacy concerns, and that consideration of broader ecosystemic challenges elicit at best moot response from mainstream animal rights advocates. In taking an individualistically based biocentric approach, the essential aims of animal ethics can, I argue, be readily embraced into a theory of value that can address this wider remit. In aligning the applicability of a developed form of biocentric individualism with the ethical underpinning of notions of the 'illegitimacy of animal use' extrapolated from normative animal advocacy perspectives, my proposition is that these shortcomings can be ameliorated and that such an alignment forms a
    complimentary and useful fusion. Biocentrism as a value theory asks for moral
    considerability to be centred upon a respect for individual nonhuman (and human) life and the possession/continuation of a flourishing individual life - neither of which, I contend, is at odds with the essential spirit of animal ethics. In this sense, I submit that a developed biocentric individualism 'bridges the gap' between animal ethics and environmental ethics.
    Date of Award2011
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorGideon Calder (Supervisor)


    • Environmentalism
    • Environemntal Ethics
    • Animal Rights
    • Social Science

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