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The place of animals in theodicy and in justice

Attfield, Robin 2022. The place of animals in theodicy and in justice. Religions 13 (5) , 450. 10.3390/rel13050450

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It is widely recognized that the animal suffering of the evolutionary past is a problem for believers in a good and just God. However, this problem is not insuperable if the intrinsic value of nonhuman flourishing is recognized as integral to the Creator’s plan (including the sentience that makes this flourishing possible among most species of animals), and if this intrinsic value is recognized as comparable to the intrinsic value of human suffering. These considerations have a bearing on justice. Many philosophers, while granting the moral standing of nonhuman animals, assume that, where justice is concerned, human interests trump those of nonhumans. However, most people accept that the central interests of nonhumans, such as the avoidance of a painful death, are not trumped by trivial human interests. But the obligations to animals that are presupposed here are not ones that are liable to be superseded by each and every interhuman obligation. Hence, theories of justice need to recognize that the needs and interests of nonhuman animals generate obligations of justice, as well as of charity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2077-1444
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 October 2022
Date of Acceptance: 14 May 2022
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 03:59

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