All That Dwell Therein: Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics

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In All That Dwell Therein, Regan goes further than Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation. Firstly, he invokes the idea that all or some ani­mals may indeed qualify as rights holders, something which Singer ref­uses to do, since “that would be mak­ing a concession to popular moral rhetoric.

Secondly, he proposes a generalized theory of rights which is based not on Singer’s equal consider­ation of interests principle, nor on sentience, which other philosophers have cited in arguing the case for rights, but rather on the view that the most reasonable criterion of rights possession is what he calls the cri­terion of inherent value. By this is meant that the individual in question, whether human or non-human, is not only a living being but is also the subject of a life that is better or worse for him (her), independently of whether anyone else finds his (her) life useful, or to put it in the lan­guage of the philosopher, “of a life which is logically independent of any other being’s taking an interest in it.”

In bringing before the public a collection of writings by one of the foremost thinkers in this domain, All That Dwell Therein has much to offer all those readers whose interests, concerns, occupations, and academic or professional affiliations cause them to ponder the true nature of man’s ethical obligations to non-human life and the environment. More particu­larly, it should be of interest to leg­islators, educators and others who may be in a position to influence the course of our moral and cultural evolution. —Peter J. Hyde, Ethics and Animals

These ten essays discuss vegetarianism, animal experimentation, whaling, the legal rights of animals, and the philosophical arguments for establishing a moral relationship with our environment.

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1982. All That Dwell Therein: Essays on Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics. University of California Press.