Authors
Alan Reynolds
University of Oregon
Abstract
Alan Reynolds: This paper is divided into three sections. First, I describe the wide plurality of views on issues of animal ethics, showing that our disagreements here are deep and profound. This fact of reasonable pluralism about animal ethics presents a political problem. According to the dominant liberal tradition of political philosophy, it is impermissible for one faction of people to impose its values upon another faction of people who reasonably reject those values. Instead, we are obligated to justify our political actions to each other using reasons that everyone can accept. Thus, in the second section I suggest that our condition of reasonable pluralism inspires us to turn toward some form of contractarianism. The social contract tradition emerged precisely as an attempt to think about how a society characterized by deep moral disagreement could nonetheless agree about the basic principles of justice. I will show, in this section, that although the social contract tradition would seem to contain the best tools for thinking about how to deal with moral disagreement, it fails to help us think through the important issues of animal ethics. In the concluding section, I suggest some ways in which political philosophy might move beyond contractarianism when thinking about this issue, including embracing an agonistic style of politics. Cet article est divisé en trois sections. Tout d’abord, je décris la grande pluralité des opinions existant sur les questions de l’éthique animale, montrant que nos désaccords sur le sujet sont profonds. Cette réalité du pluralisme raisonnable en matière d’éthique animale pose un problème politique. Selon la tradition libérale dominante de la philosophie politique, une faction de personnes ne peut imposer ses valeurs à une autre faction qui rejette raisonnablement ces valeurs. Au lieu de cela, nous sommes obligés de justifier nos actions politiques en utilisant des raisons que tout le monde peut accepter. Ainsi, dans la seconde section, je suggère que notre condition de pluralisme raisonnable nous mène à une forme de contractualisme. La tradition du contrat social est justement apparue comme une tentative de réfléchir à la façon dont une société caractérisée par un profond désaccord moral peut néanmoins s’entendre sur les principes fondamentaux de la justice. Dans cette section, je montre que, bien que la tradition du contrat social semble offrir les meilleurs outils pour définir la manière de traiter le désaccord moral, elle ne parvient pas à nous aider à réfléchir aux questions essentielles de l’éthique animale. Dans la dernière section, je suggère quelques façons susceptibles de permettre à la philosophie politique de dépasser le contractualisme dans sa réflexion sur cette question, ceci comprenant l’adoption d’un style de politique agonistique
Keywords social contract  liberalism  animal ethics
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DOI 10.7202/1029066ar
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