Prof. dr hab. Tomasz Pietrzykowski
University of Silesia
English abstract: The paper discusses the views of Christine Korsgaard – one of leading modern Kantian moral philosophers – on the proper status of sentient animals. Famously, Kantian moral theory is considered as much less favorable to the idea of animal rights than the competing utilitarian tradition. Ch. Korsgaard however reexamines the foundations of Kantian ethics and comes to the conclusion that their best reading implies (contrary to Kant’s own beliefs) that not only humans but also sentient animals deserve to be treated as ends in themselves. Her interpretation and development of Kantian ethics aims to reconcile it with modern philosophical naturalism and contemporary scientific knowledge on the nature of living creatures. Ch. Korsgaard proposes convincing comprehensive picture of naturalistic axiology and its ethical implications. Nonetheless, I raise two important objections that her views seem to give rise to – concerning the nature of human and non-human subjective selves as well as relation between moral and legal rights. The paper is based mainly on the opinions presented by Ch. Korsgaard during the 3-days seminar held in Oxford (2014) devoted to discussion of her views on the status and rights of animals from the perspective of Kantian ethics as well as on her numerous writings related to the subject.
Keywords: Christine Korsgaard, Immanual Kant, Kantianism, animal rights
Published: Number 2(11)/2015, p. 106-119.
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