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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contractarianism and animal ethics., 22 May 2004
Did not think contractarianism could yield an animal ethic? Think again. Rowlands contractarianism takes from that of John Rawls and is premised on the basal ideas of liberalism. The idea of the original position as a heuristic device is then used to exposit the scope and limits of justice, which, Rowlands argues, Rawls fails to do. When this is done, Rowlands thinks the injustice of the exclusion of non-humans from our moral sphere becomes evident.
If you are unhappy with Regan and Singer or with their deontological and utilitarian approaches this book is very much worth considering. 'Animal Rights: A Philosophical Defence' is a philosophical big brother to Rowlands' 'Animals Like Us'. Philosophically sophisticated and clearly written 'Animal Rights' is necessary reading for any of those seriously concerned with animal ethics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A significant contribution, 17 April 2011
This review is from: Animal Rights: Moral Theory and Practice (Paperback)
The initial chapters clearly set out the prevailing ethical theories and will be useful even if you are well-read in this area. The style is mainstream academic, so can seem a little long-winded at times, as Rowlands systematically works his way through the arguments. The interesting part of course is where Rawls' 'Theory of Justice' is unpeeled to reveal that a purer form can indeed be validly applied to animals. I can't see any flaws in this and it's exciting to think of the implcations.

Rowlands takes as examples, factory farming and fox hunting and shows why they are wrong under his 'new contractarianism' theory. However, the conclusion that he draws, that ALL use of sentient animals is wrong is, I think, unjustfied. I don't believe that his theory shows the wrongness of eating, for example, low intensity, well cared for sheep that have have been allowed to express natural behaviour. Or culling and eating deer that are unnaturally abundant due to our removing the natural top predator (wolves) from the ecosystem. Also, 'New Contractarianism' does not seem to give any real guidance on how we should treat populations and ecosystems, and as a result, I don't think that it can do all the work that we require of such a moral theory.

Chapter 7 I believe requires a good grounding in Theory of Mind, and was beyond my comprehension. The other exciting aspect is that by Rowlands' theory, I think it could be valid to apply a Rawlsean approach (i.e. the original position) to intergenerational justice - I hope someone will take up this baton!
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Animal Rights: Moral Theory and Practice
Animal Rights: Moral Theory and Practice by Professor Mark Rowlands (Paperback - 21 Aug 2009)
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