Non-human Animals Can Be Agents of Morality

Non-human Animals Can Be Agents of Morality Essay example
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Running head: Critical Essay Non-human Animals Can Be Agents of Morality Insert Name Insert Grade Course Insert Tutor’s Name 20 July 2012 It has been verified through a string of experiments and studies that non human animals can be moral agents (De Waal, 2008, 282-83).


From de Waal’s account, it is evident that animals especially chimpanzees can actually be moral agents. The basic concept in understanding the ability of animals to be moral agents is the evaluation of how human morality is distinguished from chimpanzee “morality”. De Waal envisages that human morality develops from the morality of our common ancestors. Morality emerges gradually, becoming more complex over time, but human morality is different in degree, not in kind, to the “morality” of other primates. Philip Kitcher, Christine Korsgaard, and Peter Singer in their book Philosophers and Primates opine that human morality is in some respects unique: it is different in kind. They suggest that morality is often a matter of overcoming our nature. Korsgaard maintains that “A form of life governed by principles and values is a very different thing from a form of life governed by instinct, desire, and emotion; even a very intelligent and sociable form of life governed by instinct, desire, and emotion. … We have ideas about what we ought to do and to be like and we are constantly trying to live up to them, apes do not live that way,” (Kitcher, Korsgaard & Singer, 2009, 117). She considers that morality requires a form of self-consciousness that allows us to inspect and assess our intentions. ...
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