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Law and Policy Rationales
Edited by Michael Burger
Edited by Michael Burger
Edited by Anu Valtonen, Outi Rantala and Paolo D. Farah
Consumption, Emissions and Security of Supplies
The Role of Political Entrepreneurship
Edited by Charlie Karlsson and Daniel Silander
This article considers objections to current litigation strategies of the US-based Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), which seek to extend legal personhood and liberty rights to nonhuman animals who possess ‘practical autonomy’. By tying personhood to intellectual abilities, so the objections go, such strategies endanger the present legal standing of humans with profound cognitive impairments. This article will argue that such cause for concern is largely misplaced for two reasons. First, the NhRP argue that practical autonomy is only a sufficient condition for personhood, not a necessary one. Second, drawing on theoretical and empirical literature, the article will argue that speciesism itself is a multiplier of oppressive theories, attitudes, beliefs and practices that negatively affect marginalized humans, including humans with cognitive impairments. The NhRP's attempts to reduce speciesism in the legal domain are thus hypothesized as being part of the solution to discrimination against marginalized humans, not as part of the problem.
Juan Pablo Mañalich R.
A being to which intentional states – such as desires or preferences – may be ascribed is a being capable of having (actual) interests, whereas to be the subject of interests of some kind is both a necessary and sufficient condition to be the holder of individual rights. After clarifying the sense in which, according to the ‘interest-theory’, the notion of a rights-subject specifies a distinctive normative status, this article will highlight the importance of distinguishing between subjectivity-dependent interests capable of being attributed to conscious beings, on the one hand, and biologically structured needs of conscious and nonconscious living beings, on the other. This distinction allows one to see that the moral requirement of recognizing legal rights for (individual) animals ought not to be conflated with biocentric demands of ecological justice. However, the argument thus delineated will not, without more, answer the crucial question of which specific legal rights ought to be ascribed to nonhuman animals. The article closes with an exploration of the need for holding onto the distinction between rights-subjecthood and personhood by analyzing some implications of Tooley's ‘particular-interest principle’.