By Erin McKenna, Andrew Light
What does American pragmatism give a contribution to modern debates approximately human-animal relationships? Does it recognize our connections to all residing issues? Does it carry us towards a moral remedy of all animals? What approximately looking, vegetarianism, animal experimentation, and the welfare of cattle? whereas questions on human family members with animals were with us for millennia, there was a marked upward push in public knowledge approximately animal concerns - even McDonald's advertises that they use humanely handled animals as nutrition assets. In "Animal Pragmatism", 12 full of life and provocative essays deal with issues on the intersection of pragmatist philosophy and animal welfare. themes disguise a vast variety of matters, together with ethical attention of animals, the ethics of animal experimentation, institutional animal care, environmental safeguard of animal habitat, farm animal welfare, animal verbal exchange, and animal morals. Readers who have interaction with animals, even if as pets or on a plate, will discover a strong and interesting exploration of human-nonhuman relationships. Its participants are: James M. Albrecht, Douglas R. Anderson, Steven Fesmire, Glenn Kuehn, Todd Lekan, Andrew gentle, John J. McDermott, Erin McKenna, Phillip McReynolds, Ben Minteer, Matthew Pamental, Paul Thompson, and Jennifer Welchman.
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Last, emotions are an unavoidable determinant in moral decisions, which, both James and Dewey argue, involve not only quantitative calculations about future consequences but also our desires and choices about the quality of happiness to be found, and the quality of character to be cultivated, in striving to achieve different ends. From a pragmatic perspective, extending the moral consideration we grant to animals is such a choice, and thus cannot be settled merely by rational arguments—whether of the Singer or Regan variety—about why the mental status of animals entitles them to greater consideration.
The imperial “highways” of human intelligence, paved in our headlong rush to secure certain goods, will lead us to trample on other aspects of the world we inhabit. The tension that here is largely implicit in Emerson’s metaphors becomes the explicit topic of the essay’s closing paragraphs, which voice an abrupt and dramatic shift of argument: Is there somewhat overweening in this claim? Then I reject all that I have written, for what is the use of pretending to know what we know not? But it is the fault of our rhetoric that we cannot strongly state one fact without seeming to belie some other.
This volume does not exhaust all possible understandings of pragmatism, of the topics, or of pragmatist positions on those topics addressed. We hope, however, that it at least serves to provide an important start on which others will build. Notes 1. It is telling that Pollan’s opening line in the article squarely connects the social movement for animal rights with the philosophical literature: “The ¤rst time I opened Peter Singer’s ‘Animal Liberation,’ I was dining alone at the Palm, trying to enjoy a rib-eye steak cooked medium-rare” (“An Animal’s Place” 58).