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Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy


book jacket

January, 2005

176 pages

ISBN: 0-231-13422-3

Columbia University Press

February, 2007

176 pages

ISBN: 0-231-13423-1

Columbia University Press

Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy

Julian H. Franklin

"Julian Franklin, a respected political philosopher, enters the animal rights debate with a thoroughly fascinating, engaging, and accessible essay that explores utilitarian and deontological theory and presents a theory of animal rights based on Franklin's reinterpretation of Kant. This intriguing book will most certainly provoke debate about basic issues concerning the moral status of nonhumans."
--Gary L. Francione, Rutgers University School of Law

"Julian Franklin gives us a clear and fair-minded critique of what contemporary philosophers have to say about the moral rights of animals. At the core of his book is a carefully argued rereading of the key texts of Kant against Kant himself. A valuable contribution to a vital debate."
--J. M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2003

"This slim but persuasive volume presents a masterful analysis of the philosophical underpinnings of animal rights, showing the inadequacy of accounts given by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and other theorists. Franklin's theory, grounded in a modified Kantian approach, will now be essential reading on this subject."
--Cynthia Grant Bowman, professor of law, Northwestern University School of Law

"A welcome addition to the expanding body of work on animal rights. Highly readable and insightful."
--Tom Regan, author of Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights

"Franklin's arguments are subtle, intricate...well worth the effort."
--Mark Rowlands, Times Literary Supplement

"Franklin (emer. Columbia Univ.) has written a wonderful little book...Highly recommended."

Animals obviously cannot have a right of free speech or a right to vote because they lack the relevant capacities. But their right to life and to be free of exploitation is no less fundamental than the corresponding right of humans, writes Julian H. Franklin. This theoretically rigorous book will reassure the committed, help the uncertain to decide, and arm the polemicist.

Franklin examines all the major arguments for animal rights proposed to date and extends the philosophy in new directions. Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy begins by considering the utilitarian argument of equal respect for animals advocated by Peter Singer and, even more favorably, the rights approach that has been advanced by Tom Regan. Despite their merits, both are found wanting as theoretical foundations for animal rights. Franklin also examines the ecofeminist argument for an ethics of care and several rationalist arguments before concluding that Kant's categorical imperative can be expanded to form a basis for an ethical system that includes all sentient beings. Franklin also discusses compassion as applied to animals, encompassing Albert Schweitzer's ethics of reverence for life. He concludes his analysis by considering conflicts of rights between animals and humans.


Peter Singer and Utilitarianism
Regan on Animal Rights
Animal Rights and Kant
Animal Rights and Post-Kantian Rationalism
Animal Rights and Compassion
Conflict of Rights and Environmentalism

About the Author

Julian H. Franklin is professor emeritus of political philosophy at Columbia University.


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