Émilie Hache and Bruno Latour argue in their article “Morality or Moralism?” that contemporary moral treatments of animals exhibit a hard-won insensitivity, and a corresponding inability to respond, to the “call” of animals—to the moral claims that animals legitimately make on us. In responding, Rowlands commends aspects of this thesis but argues that Hache and Latour have improperly formulated it. Rather than being an inability to respond to the call of animals, contemporary moral treatments of the moral claims of animals exhibit a willingness to respond to their call in the only way that remains available, given the development of moral discourse during the last three hundred years. The willingness to respond to the call is admirable; but the restriction on moral discourse that makes this the only available form of moral response is, Rowlands suggests, both admirable and regrettable in almost equal measure.
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Mark Rowlands; Responding to Animals. Common Knowledge 1 April 2010; 16 (2): 351–360. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-2009-113
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