Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (2):273-287 (2021)

Harry R. Lloyd
Yale University
Shelly Kagan has recently defended the view that it is morally worse for a human being to suffer some harm than it is for a lower animal (such as a dog or a cow) to suffer a harm that is equally severe (ceteris paribus). In this paper, I argue that this view receives rather less support from our intuitions than one might at first suppose. According to Kagan, moreover, an individual’s moral status depends partly upon her ‘modal capacities.’ In this paper, I argue that the most natural strategy for justifying Kagan’s theory faces some important challenges. More generally, I argue that philosophers who wish to defend the view that human beings have a higher moral status than that of the lower animals face a dilemma. Either their theory of moral status will imply (unacceptably) that some severely cognitively impaired human beings have a significantly lower moral status than that of typical human beings, or these philosophers will be forced to ground moral status in a set of properties so far removed from a subject’s actual capacities that it will become difficult to see why these kinds of properties should have such moral importance.
Keywords moral status  speciesism  modal personism  Shelly Kagan  luck
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1111/japp.12519
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References found in this work BETA

The Grounds of Moral Status.Julie Tannenbaum & Agnieszka Jaworska - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:0-0.
Essential Vs. Accidental Properties.Teresa Robertson & Philip Atkins - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Empathy.Karsten Stueber - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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Citations of this work BETA

Time Discounting, Consistency, and Special Obligations: A Defence of Robust Temporalism.Harry R. Lloyd - 2021 - Global Priorities Institute, Working Papers 2021 (11):1-38.

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