This is the page of a previous conference - the current conference page is available here.
International Animal Rights ConferenceInternational Animal Rights Conference

Saturday, 14.09.2013   11:00-11:50   Room A
The moral hand
five principles demonstrate the ethical consistency of animal equality
Stijn Bruers

Using a metaphor of five moral fingers working together as the moral hand, I construct a coherent ethical system of five ethical principles based on strong moral intuitions, which I apply to animal ethics. The thumb represents the principle of universalism, which generates a golden rule and an anti-discrimination rule. The index finger symbolizes a welfare ethic, based on the coherence of impartiality and empathy. It points at the values of well-being and justice. Using famous moral dilemmas, I introduce the middle finger as the `mere means` principle of a rights ethic: sentient beings have a right not to be used as merely means to someone else`s ends. Both animal welfare and rights ethics face a highly underestimated challenge: the predation problem. I discuss a fourth principle, the ring finger of an environmental ethic, which refers to the values of biodiversity and naturalness. It adopts some elements of carnism, the opposite of veganism as ideology. This fourth principle solves the predation problem and is coherent with other moral intuitions. Finally, the little finger represents the principle of tolerated partiality which can be used in some final moral dilemmas (e.g. "your child or the dog?" type burning house dilemmas). With these five fingers of ethics, I grasp the moral problem of consuming animal products, and demonstrate that veganism is the only consistent moral choice.













note: all information on this web site is subject to change as the conference planning proceeds
IARC 2011 | IARC 2012 | Imprint / About