For Hierarchy in Animal Ethics
In my forthcoming book, How to Count Animals, More or Less (based on my 2016 Uehiro Lectures in Practical Ethics), I argue for a hierarchical approach to animal ethics according to which animals have moral standing but nonetheless have a lower moral status than people have. This essay is an overview of that book, drawing primarily from selections from its beginning and end, aiming both to give a feel for the overall project and to indicate the general shape of the hierarchical position that I defend there. In this essay, I contrast the hierarchical approach with its most important rival (which holds that people and animals have the very same moral status), sketch the main idea behind one central argument for hierarchy, and briefly review three potentially troubling implications of the hierarchical view. I close with a discussion of a promising possible solution to the most worrisome of the three objections.