Animal Epistemology and Ethics in Schopenhauerian Metaphysics

Environmental Ethics 35 (3):349-361 (2013)
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Abstract

Within Arthur Schopenhauer’s pessimistic philosophy he set aside a special place for animals. Not only did Schopenhauer show great affection for other species and repeatedly criticize Western anthropocentrism, but he also argued that we could know a great deal about animals by intimately knowing ourselves. Although currently underdeveloped, Schopenhauer’s introspective methodology sheds light on how we can begin to mend the epistemic human-animal boundary through his emphasis on immediate, concrete knowledge and intuition. In practice too, Schopenhauer’s metaphysically grounded ethical system of compassion offers an alternative to both utilitarianism and deontology to bridge the human-animal moral boundary. For Schopenhauer, if a person recognizes the identical, underlying substance of their self and the animal kingdom, he or she will extend loving kindness and justice to all creatures

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