Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (2):117-132 (2014)
AbstractLiterature on the mental capacities and cognitive mechanisms of the great apes has been silent about whether they can act autonomously. This paper provides a philosophical theory of autonomy supported by psychological studies of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie chimpanzee behavior to argue that chimpanzees can act autonomously even though their psychological mechanisms differ from those of humans. Chimpanzees satisfy the two basic conditions of autonomy: (1) liberty (the absence of controlling influences) and (2) agency (self-initiated intentional action), each of which is specified here in terms of conditions of understanding, intention, and self-control. In this account, chimpanzees make knowledge-based choices reflecting a richly information-based and socially sophisticated understanding of the world. Finally, two major theories of autonomy (Kantian theory and two-level theory) are rejected as too narrow to adequately address these issues, necessitating the modifications made in the present approach.
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References found in this work
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work
A Belmont Report for Animals?—Erratum.Hope Ferdowsian, L. Syd M. Johnson, Jane Johnson, Andrew Fenton, Adam Shriver & John Gluck - 2020 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 29 (1):19-37.
Chimpanzee Rights: The Philosophers' Brief.Kristin Andrews, Gary Comstock, G. K. D. Crozier, Sue Donaldson, Andrew Fenton, Tyler John, L. Syd M. Johnson, Robert Jones, Will Kymlicka, Letitia Meynell, Nathan Nobis, David M. Pena-Guzman & Jeff Sebo - 2018 - London: Routledge.
Is There a Role for Assent or Dissent in Animal Research?Holly Kantin & David Wendler - 2015 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (4):459-472.
The Unfinished Business of Respect for Autonomy: Persons, Relationships, and Nonhuman Animals.Rebecca L. Walker - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (4-5):521-539.
The Emergence and Development of Animal Research Ethics: A Review with a Focus on Nonhuman Primates.Gardar Arnason - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2277-2293.
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