Books  General Natural History  Philosophy, Ethics & Religion 

Beastly Morality: Animals as Ethical Agents

By: Jonathan K Crane (Editor)

Columbia University Press

Paperback | Dec 2015 | #225346 | ISBN-13: 9780231174176
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £23.99 $29/€27 approx
Hardback | Dec 2015 | #225347 | ISBN-13: 9780231174169
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £72.50 $89/€81 approx

About this book

We have come to regard nonhuman animals as beings of concern, and we even grant them some legal protections. But until we understand animals as moral agents in and of themselves, they will be nothing more than distant recipients of our largesse. Featuring original essays by philosophers, ethicists, religionists, and ethologists, including Marc Bekoff, Frans de Waal, and Elisabetta Palagi, this collection demonstrates the ability of animals to operate morally, process ideas of good and bad, and think seriously about sociality and virtue.

Envisioning nonhuman animals as distinct moral agents marks a paradigm shift in animal studies, as well as philosophy itself. Drawing not only on ethics and religion but also on law, sociology, and cognitive science, the essays in this collection Beastly Morality test long-held certainties about moral boundaries and behaviors and prove that nonhuman animals possess complex reasoning capacities, sophisticated empathic sociality, and dynamic and enduring self-conceptions.

Rather than claim animal morality is the same as human morality, Beastly Morality builds an appreciation of the variety and character of animal sensitivities and perceptions across multiple disciplines, moving animal welfarism in promising new directions.

"Issues surrounding animal moral agency have become one of the cutting-edge areas of research in animal studies; as such, Beastly Morality is poised to make a significant contribution to the field."
– Matthew Calarco, author of Zoographies: The Question of the Animal from Heidegger to Derrida



1. Beastly Morality: A Twisting Tale, by Jonathan K. Crane

Part I: The Permeability of Morality
2. De-humanizing Morality, by Kendy Hess
3. HumAnI(m)Morality, by Sean Meighoo
4. Not All Dogs Go to Heaven: Judaism's Lessons in Beastly Morality, by Mark Goldfeder

Part II: Observing Animal Morality
5. Animal Empathy as Moral Building Block, by Frans B. M. de Waal
6. Humans, Other Animals, and the Biology of Morality, by Elisabetta Palagi
7. Moral Mutts: Social Play, Fairness, and Wild Justice, by Marc Bekoff
8. Fighting Fair: The Ecology of Honor in Humans and Animals, by Dan Demetriou

Part III: Reading Animal Morality
9. Reading, Teaching Insects: Ant Society as Pedagogical Device in Rabbinic Literature, by Harrison King
10. Jakushin's Dogs and the Goodness of Animals: Preaching the Moral Life of Beasts in Medieval Japanese Tale Literature, by Michael Bathgate

Part IV: Reconceiving Animal Morality
11. Just Chimpanzees? A Thomistic Perspective on Ethics in a Nonhuman Species, by John Berkman
12. Brutal Justice? Animal Litigation and the Question of Countertradition, by Jonathan K. Crane and Aaron S. Gross

Part V: Epilogue
13. Beastly Morality: Untangling Possibilities, by Jonathan K. Crane, Ani B. Satz, Lori Marino, and Cynthia Willett

List of Contributors

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Jonathan K. Crane, the Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar in Bioethics and Jewish Thought at the Emory University Center for Ethics, is the past president of the Society of Jewish Ethics, founding editor of the Journal of Jewish Ethics, coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality, and author of Narratives and Jewish Bioethics.

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