By Alasdair Cochrane

Structured round the 5 most vital faculties inside of modern political thought: liberalism, utilitarianism, communitarianism, Marxism and feminism,this is the 1st introductory point textual content to supply an available assessment at the prestige of animals in modern political theory.

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Extra info for An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory

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In other words, they claimed that when formulating policies to increase the welfare of a society, the interests of animals should be included. 40 A Christian utilitarian basis for including animals in the domain of justice was also laid out in detail in Humphrey Primatt’s (bap. 1735, d. 41 However, the most famous case for bringing animals under the domain of justice on the basis of their sentience derives from Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832). In a famous passage linking sentience to justice, Bentham wrote as follows: The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny.

Regan claims that this way of valuing individual animals is completely wrong. Regan argues that those animals who are ‘subjects-of-a-life’ – those entities with beliefs and desires, perception and memory, the ability to feel pain and pleasure, the ability to initiate action and so on – possess ‘inherent value’: a value which is not reducible to their contribution to utility. ’25 Essentially, this is a Kantian injunction whereby, ‘. .

Of particular significance is the re-emergence of the importance of sentience amongst utilitarian political theorists of the nineteenth century. But while this story is undoubtedly interesting in and of itself, it also has a wider significance for this book. For this story helps us to think more clearly about current debates about animals amongst contemporary political theorists. For one, many of these contemporary debates have been addressed before, and it would be foolish to ignore past wisdom.

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