Animal Ethics has a new page about discourse ethics and nonhuman animals

Animal Ethics has a new page about discourse ethics and nonhuman animals

6 Sep 2023

Animal Ethics just published an article examining how the ethical theory of discourse ethics supports giving full moral consideration to nonhuman animals. According to discourse ethics, ethical principles must be justifiable through discussion and deliberation, considering all reasonable perspectives. Humans routinely make decisions that affect animals, both domesticated and wild. Animals have no seat at the table, no voice in the conversation that determines whether they are granted moral worth and how much. Applying discourse ethics fairly could remedy this injustice by requiring impartial consideration of all affected interests, including animals, in ethical deliberations.

We added this article to the ethical theories and nonhuman animals section, where you can find information about why all major ethical positions should reject speciesism.

There are various ethical theories, which have diverse implications about what we ought to do in different scenarios. However, the most accepted ethical theories converge on granting full moral consideration to all sentient beings because our actions can harm or benefit them.

One distinguishing feature of discourse ethics is that it relies on rational communication rather than instrumental goals or bargaining power. Core premises are that moral judgments must be impartial, reversible, and universally applicable. It requires genuinely weighing all reasonable perspectives. A proper discussion should incorporate the interests of all who will be affected. If a party can’t represent their own interests, someone else should represent them. This is the only way the deliberation can reach a truly just result.

Discourse ethics provides a framework for carefully considering nonhuman animals’ interests when making moral judgments. Our actions can greatly affect their wellbeing, such as when we exploit them for food or when we help animals suffering in the wild.

You can read the article here:

Discourse ethics

We encourage those who already accept this view to explore its implications for furthering animals’ interests.