My new article in the Zeitschrift für Ethik und Moralphilosophie (Journal for Ethics and Moral Philosophy) is perhaps the most important article I have written to date. It builds on arguments I made in previous publications – including in this article and this article – and presents a novel account of full and equal moral status, according to which it is no less seriously wrong to kill a non-human conscious animal than it is to kill you or me.
Here is the abstract:
According to a diverse and widely popular family of moral theories, there is a class of individuals – typically humans or persons – who have the very same, full moral status. Individuals not falling into that class count for less, or not at all, morally speaking. In this article, I identify two problems for such theories, the mapping problem and the problem of misgrounded value, and argue that they are serious enough to be decisive. I will then propose an alternative account of full and equal moral status that avoids those problems. In grounding full moral status in phenomenal consciousness, it preserves the idea that you and I are equal, but at the same time radically expands the community of moral equals. I conclude by discussing some practical implications of my proposal.