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Defending Animal Rights Hardcover – November 30, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0252026119 ISBN-10: 025202611X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1 edition (November 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025202611X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252026119
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,896,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a collection of essays, each with bibliographic notes, written by the foremost champion among philosophers of the view that nonhuman animals possess moral rights... Regan's philosophical style is characterized by clarity of expression and an emphasis on cogent argumentation." -- Choice ADVANCE PRAISE "There's no one quite like Regan for building a case for animal rights, using critical analysis to view rights from a moral and a factual approach, assessing the approaches and then defending them." -- Claudette Vaughan, Animal Liberation "Tom Regan is a master of clear argumentation, and here he expresses his views more clearly and incisively than ever. Packed with important insights and observations, Defending Animal Rights is a valuable contribution to the ongoing debates regarding animal rights and related issues." -- Susan Finsen, coauthor of The Animal Rights Movement in America: From Compassion to Respect

From the Inside Flap

"Tom Regan is a master of clear argumentation, and here he expresses his views more clearly and incisively than ever. Packed with important insights and observations, Defending Animal Rights is a valuable contribution to the ongoing debates regarding animal rights and related issues." -- Susan Finsen, coauthor of The Animal Rights Movement in America: From Compassion to Respect

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Nobis on October 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In this collection of superbly-written and argued essays, Tom Regan, the leading defender of the moral rights of animals, restates and refines his main arguments that animals, like humans, have the right to be treated with respect and so not used by humans for food, clothing, experimental subjects, or entertainment.
His arguments are strong and simple: if humans have rights (and lets suppose they do), why is this so? What is it about humans that makes them have rights, that makes it wrong to kill them for food, entertainment, etc.? It is very difficult to find plausible answers to those questions that do not imply that animals do not have rights as well. Clearly Regan's critics have not.
Those who challenge the status quo with respect to humanity's treatment of animals will find Regan's essays clear, carefully argued, and revealing of his great insight into moral philosophy and the moral life. Defenders of the status quo--those who think that, by and large, society's treatment of animals is perfectly fine--have their difficult work cut out for them to reveal exactly where Regan's arguments have gone wrong.
They need to explain exactly why, although it's wrong to kill and eat, hunt down, experiment on, or wear non-rational humans (e.g., infants, severly mentally challenged, anecephalics, the brain dead, etc.), it is perfectly OK to do these things to animals who have more advanced mental capacities and the same capacity to suffer.
This is a very difficult challenge. Regan responds to some (although, unfortunately probably not the best) of his critics on these points and shows that their criticisms either just *assume* that animals don't have rights and/or are riddled with argumentative and logical blunders.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Emmy on May 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Defending Animal Rights is a written response to the criticisms of Tom Regan's previous writings and speeches. Regan carefully outlines some of the main arguments against him and the animal rights movement.
Starting with an explanation of historically significant philosophies and their importance to the moral issues raised in the field of animal ethics, Regan displays the foundation for his, as well as other influential philisophers' arguments. He explains the importance of the ideas of direct and indirect duties, perfectionism, traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs, Contractarianism, Kantianism, Utilitarianism, The Rights View, deep ecology, and ecofeminism. Of these moral positions the Utilitarian and the Rights View have provided the clearest stand on the issue of animal rights.
Regan recognizes that in today's debate of these issues the animal rights movement has been condemned in different ways by different groups of people. The main concern of this book is to thoroughly answer these criticisms. Regan states, "My major interest on this occasion is not to defend the movement against false charges but to clarify certain ideas." (p.30) Building off of this statement he displays a humble approach to his critcs.
In clarifying the ideas of the movement, Regan explains his form of Kantiant ethics. This view, in which he includes not just humans, but beings he defines as being "subject to a life" (beings who possess "sensory, cognitive, conative, and volitional capacities" (p.42)), embodies the main basis of his position:
"Harms intentionally done to any one subject cannot be justified by aggregating benefits derived by others. In this respect my position is antiutilitarian, a theory in the Kantian, not the Millian, tradition.
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2 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "mikeheany" on March 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Regan's "The Case for Animal Rights" is pretty strong stuff, and I was hoping this would be a structured defense of objections to that text. This book has some defense in it, but I was looking for something more encompassing and systematic. The book is comprised of several shorter pieces.
It's still good; it's just seem to be enough.
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14 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Derbyshire on February 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Regan has followed his seminal work, "The case for animal rights" by more than 15 years with "Defending animal rights". The book is well written and continues his arguments against all forms of animal use towards human ends (no more experimentation, farming or clothing from animals). As he has stated previously, his aim is not larger cages but empty cages. His is a radical abolitionist position.
To make this bold claim Regan must force animals onto the same ground as humans, he must present a morally demanding equivalence between humans and animals. This ought to immediately raise eyebrows, if not hackles, most of us believe that humans are more morally valuable than animals and we do not take kindly to the equivalence of people with pigs, monkeys, rats and so forth. To make the case, Regan argues that animals are, like us, "subjects of a life" with feelings, desires, needs, etc., who can experience pain and happiness. Being "subjects of a life" in this manner, animals have an inherent value that we are duty bound to protect.
It is not easy to define the essence of humanity but I doubt a mish mash of wants, needs, feelings, whatever, captures what it means to be human. Even taking Regan's contention at face value, it is legitimate to wonder how comparable humans and animals really are. Animals lack agency, the ability to change their world for the betterment of themselves and future generations. This ability sets us far apart from the animal world, which has remained static for millennia, while our world has provided incessant cultural growth and technological advance.
To dodge the obvious gulf between animals and us Regan uses those unfortunate members of humanity who are mentally incapacitated to the point where their abilities and senses may be comparable to animals.
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