John R. Wallach
This essay discusses the contribution of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue (1981) to a generation of moral theory. Pitched as a critique of liberal individualism (e.g., Rawls), modernity (e.g., amoral bureaucracies), and the antagonism toward the history of moral theory evinced by analytical philosophers, MacIntyre’s book urges a return toward moral traditions embedded in local communities as the best route to avoid what he regards as the soullessness of modernity and the abyss of Nietzschean philosophy. But his failure to reflect on the political valence of traditions in general or the Aristotelian and Thomist ones he values, seriously compromises his complaints about modernity and his suggestions for ways out.
Although the presence of animals in our lives seems natural, it is not; it depends on work. But we don’t know what work means for a dog, a horse, or a cow. This chapter proposes a concept of animal work, and argues that there is a subjective involvement of animals in work and intersubjective relations between humans and animals at work. This working is based on a range of structural elements that reflect human work and demonstrate that animals are implicated in work. However, animals also show at work their own way of seeing work according to what the context of production allows, their resistance and their propositions. Faced with an anthropological rupture with animals and the end of domestication, driven by alimentation biotech firms and abolitionists, it is now more important than ever to understand the building blocks of the human-animal bond, such as animal work.
This chapter contrasts the dominant sense of the phrase “animals as legal subjects,” which minimizes fundamental protections for nonhuman animals, with alternative senses of the same phrase that focus on nonhuman animals’ realities, such as consciousness and intelligence. Support for the alternatives comes from developments within different domains, including legal education and society more broadly, where the meaning of such phrases as “legal person,” “legal personhood,” and “legal rights” is being debated regarding companion animals, wildlife, and many other forms of life. The upshot of the debate taking place over the status of nonhuman animals in law and broader phenomenon of human exceptionalism is a wide-ranging discussion of additional forms of animal protection.
For all recorded history domestic animals have been considered objects within the legal system, classified as personal property, the primary focus being on what an owner can do with property or how an owner can protect property from intrusions of others or the government. More recently, our society has developed a new perspective, focusing not on the owners’ rights but on the animals themselves and what level of protection and concern they should be given, regardless of the issue of ownership. To aid in the process of giving animals more visibility within the legal system, it is necessary to remove them from the category of personal property and place them in a new category of “living property.” Once this happens, the allocation of legal rights to domestic animals can begin on a clean slate allowing the issues of animal rights and legal personhood to be directly addressed.
A discrepancy exists between the legal and perceived status of livestock. Legally, food animals are property, but their thing-like status is unstable and does not determine how they are perceived in practice. The extent to which food animals are regarded as commodities or sentient beings is therefore contextually contingent, oscillates, and is riddled with inconsistency. To understand livestock as a sentient commodity is to attend to, and (re)contextualize, the contradictory and changeable nature of the perceived status of commodified animals in food animal productive contexts, and to how stockpeople experience and manage this perceptual paradox in practice. Bringing to the fore the relatively mundane aspect of human-livestock relations not only upsets commonly held assumptions that productive animals are nothing more than mere commodities, it also highlights the non-productive aspects of stockpeople’s roles that have, to date, been typically overlooked or underexplored.
This chapter analyzes the systematic relationship of Carl Schmitt’s oeuvre to rhetoric, arguing that his work cannot be detached from its engagement in a simultaneously metaphysical and historical polemic. The encounter between history and metaphysics manifests in the dimension of the commonplace. Schmitt’s contributions to political theory can be understood as attempts to shift the commonplaces through which his time defines itself. Tracing the influence of Schmitt’s early literary criticism on his legal writing, the chapter demonstrates that for him, literature is a school of rhetoric, an exemplary dimension in more than one sense: it is a normative, ethical, and stylistic authority. While Schmitt’s books are contributions to specific legal, political, and critical discourse, they also claim to contribute to the great and urgent concerns of a community. This dimension inherits the genus grande and places his oeuvre at the limits of rhetoric.
Cetacean cognition at the level of the individual is complex and highly sophisticated and shares a number of characteristics with human and other great ape cognitive features. At the same time, in the social setting, capacities and propensities appear to emerge that are unique to cetaceans. This chapter explores cetacean cognition at the levels of the individual (language, pointing and reference, self-awareness, innovation and imitation, body image, self-recognition, self-imitation, and metacognition) and the social group (social complexity and networking, culture) and concludes that dolphins can only thrive as reflexive thinkers in a natural social group. Dolphins in captivity often suffer from psychological disturbances and abnormalities, poor health, and, ultimately, high mortality rates.
David Ponet and Ethan J. Leib
The “systemic turn” in deliberative democractic theory builds off the critical insight that one instance or site of deliberation does not legitimate an entire political system. But accepting too easily that non-deliberative parts can contribute to a deliberative sum can risk deliberative democracy’s aspirations for reform. This chapter examines three evolving areas of deliberative lawmaking—administrative lawmaking, districting commissions, and deliberative plebiscites—that underscore the ongoing relevance and promise of “second wave” deliberative democratic institutional design. The “notice and comment” structure of administrative rule-making, for instance, can invite the admission of multiple voices into the lawmaking process, especially when combined with the court’s role in incentivizing such practice. The trend toward nonpartisan or bipartisan commissions establishing legislative district lines can also generate powerful deliberative democratic dividends. Similarly, practices in plebisicitary democracy—whether through instances such as citizen policy juries or other directly democratic mechanisms—can contribute toward the deliberative democratization of law and society.
Paul B. Thompson
This chapter summarizes two strands of work on the ethics of food animal production. A dietetic tradition emphasizes the questions of whether and under what conditions consumption of animal protein is morally acceptable. For those who do not adopt some form of ethical vegetarianism, this approach has typically favored more traditional approaches to husbandry. A productionist tradition focuses on the potential for ethically motivated change in livestock production methods and policy. Beginning with the Brambell Committee’s five freedoms, this identifies indicators for multiple dimensions of food animal well-being, and recommends changes in existing industrial production systems. The multiple dimensions of welfare differ from one food animal species to another, and opinion is divided between members of the lay public, who tend to favor indicators relating to an animal’s ability to perform behaviors thought typical, normal, or natural, and scientific experts, who tend to favor cognitive affect and veterinary health.
Matthew H. Kramer
H. L. A. Hartʼs The Concept of Law is, of course, primarily a work of legal philosophy. It is indeed the most influential work of legal philosophy in the English language (and perhaps in any language) published during the twentieth century. However, the immense importance of the book for philosophers of law should not prevent readers from discerning its importance for political and moral philosophers as well. Hartʼs insights into the nature of law and sovereignty are themselves of great significance for political philosophy, and the second half of The Concept of Law contains ruminations on justice and on the relationships between law and morality that deserve attention from anyone who aspires to think clearly about the problems of political philosophy.