A Theory of Justice for Animals: Animal Rights in a Nonideal World

ISBN : 9780199936335

Robert Garner
208 Pages
172 x 240 mm
Pub date
Oct 2013
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Are animals worthy recipients of justice? If so, what do we owe them, and what is to be gained by using the language of justice when considering our duties toward them? A Theory of Justice for Animals, written by one of the foremost scholars of animal ethics, argues that not only are animals worthy recipients of justice, but that the language of justice offers a stronger base of claims for animal advocates than does the language of ethics or morality. It also claims that a genuinely political theory of animal rights is incomplete if it does not go beyond the level of ideal theory. This is the first account of animal ethics to use nonideal theory, and it does so to plot a course from where we are now to where we want to be. Advancing what he calls the enhanced sentience position, Robert Garner argues that a valid theory of justice for animals should be rights-based, and that animals have a right to not suffer at the hands of humans. At the same time, he argues that humans have a greater interest in life and liberty than most species of nonhuman animals. Tackling animal ethics as it relates to justice and non-ideal theory, this is a seminal work that will challenge traditional approaches and offer a compelling new vision of animal justice.


1. Introduction - Animals, Justice and Nonideal Theory
2. Contractarianism, Animals and Justice
3. Why Animals Need Justice
4. Indirect Duties, Virtue Ethics and Animals
5. The Animal Welfare Ethic
6. Animal Rights and Justice
7. Three Positions Rejected
8. Animal Rights as Ideal and Nonideal Theory
9. The Argument From Marginal Cases Revisited
10. Conclusion

About the author: 

Robert Garner is Professor of Politics at the University of Leicester.

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