Professor Shelly Kagan delivers the first of three Annual Uehiro Lectures in Practical Ethics, ‘How to Count Animals, More or Less’
Much contemporary writing on animal ethics is "egalitarian" in the sense that otherwise similar harms (or goods) for people and nonhuman animals are thought to count equally. In this sense, animals and people can be said to have the same moral status ("pain is pain"). In these lectures, however, I will explore an alternative, hierarchical approach, according to which animals differ from people, and from one another, in terms of the moral significance of their lives, their goods and bads, and the various rights that they possess. I'll sketch what a hierarchical approach might look like in a consequentialist framework, and--more complicatedly--in a deontological one, closing with some thoughts about the position of animals in foundational moral theories.