Animal ethics; Speciesism; Debunking arguments; Cognitive dissonance; Evolution
Jaquet François, Cova Florian (2021), RETRACTED: Beyond moral dilemmas: The role of reasoning in five categories of utilitarian judgment, in Cognition
, 209, 104572-104572.
Jaquet François (2020), What’s Wrong with Speciesism, in The Journal of Value Inquiry
JaquetFrançois (2020), Le Spécisme, PUF, Paris, 497-507.
JaquetFrançois, Speciesism and tribalism: Embarrassing origins, in Philosophical Studies
It is a banal observation that we routinely treat animals in ways in which we would never treat human beings, that we grant far less consideration to the interests of the former than to the similar interests of the latter. Known as “speciesism”, this form of discrimination has generated an important debate in the last forty years. Some philosophers argue that it is as unjustified as intra-human discriminations such as racism and sexism; others maintain that it is morally acceptable. Still, as was perhaps unavoidable after such a period of time, the most recent contributions to this debate are largely replies to objections to previous replies to previous objections. At the end of the day, the debate has become more and more complex and no clear consensus has emerged. In this project, I propose a fresh perspective on this issue. Ethics recently gave rise to arguments of a new kind: so-called "debunking arguments" rely on the genealogy of some of our beliefs to undermine their justification. From the observation that some moral beliefs are due to a process that does not track moral truth, they conclude that the beliefs in question are unjustified. The aim of the present project is to introduce three such arguments against the speciesist belief that the interests of humans matter more than the similar interests of non-humans. Three empirical hypotheses will be put forward to this effect: this belief is explained by cognitive dissonance (Part I), by a general tendency to discriminate (Part II), and by our evolutionary past (Part III). If these hypotheses turn out to be correct, and the phenomena in question are indeed unrelated to moral truth, then I will be in a position to conclude that the speciesist belief is unjustified.