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Environmental Values

Specifying Speciesism

Roger Fjellstrom

Environmental Values 11(2002): 63-74. doi: 10.3197/096327102129340984

Many philosophers consider favouritism toward humans in the context of moral choice to be a prejudice. Several terms are used for it - 'speciesism', 'human chauvinism', 'human racism', and 'anthropocentrism' - with somewhat varying and often blurred meanings, which brings confusion to the issue. This essay suggests that only one term, 'speciesism', be used, and it attempts a conceptual clarification. To this end it proposes a set of conditions of adequacy for a concept that would be acceptable to the parties of the controversy. Through an examination of various forms of alleged speciesism it eventually proposes a rather precise concept. On this definition some positions believed not to be speciesist perhaps should be so called, and some positions believed to be speciesist perhaps should not be so called. The latter would better be referred to as 'humanistic ethics' or 'non-speciesist humanism'.


KEYWORDS: animals, anthropocentrism, ethics, human chauvinism, humanism, human racism, partiality, Singer, speciesism, Rachels

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Beyond Human Racism. Robyn Eckersley

Anthropocentrism: A Misunderstood Problem. Tim Hayward

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Is Singer's Ethics Speciesist? Roger Fjellstrom

The Rights of Animals and the Demands of Nature. Dale Jamieson


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