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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

The advance of biological sciences in the last two hundred years seems to have narrowed the distance between humans and animals, and scientists themselves are active in promoting the welfare of experimental animals. Does this mean that continued use of animals in science is inconsistent and morally condemnable as "speciesism"? The paper argues that philosophers' accounts of "speciesism" and the assimilation of "speciesism" to racism by Peter Singer and others are not well founded. Racism is a complex phenomenon, and there is no clear analogy to be drawn between it and the supposed prejudice of "speciesism". The humanist tradition established in the Renaissance can be a source for an ethic of care for animals, and regarding humanism simply as a bias or prejudice akin to "speciesism" (in the sense deployed by Singer) is misleading and simplistic.


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