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Why Animal Suffering Matters: Philosophy, Theology, and Practical Ethics 1st Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195379778
ISBN-10: 0195379772
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Linzey (Creatures of the Same God), director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, is a soft-spoken hard-liner about animal rights. In this philosophically and theologically dense treatise, cobbled together and revised from essays and presentations prepared between 2002 and 2007, he rationalizes why no animal should ever be killed or even harmed by humans. Linzey dwells at abstruse length on efforts to ban foxhunting in Britain, while other countries are condemned, America included, for causing suffering for pleasure. A chapter devoted to fur farming slams the practice of raising animals for their pelts, subjecting them to prolonged suffering for trivial ends, such as fur coats. A chapter devoted to commercial sealing dwells on the clubbing of baby seals. Such animal abuse is a precursor to serial murder and violence to children, the author suggests, before calling for an end to killing animals even for food, given that humans can live healthy lives without recourse to flesh products. Linzey's proanimal extremism is admirable, but won't suit every reader.(Aug.)
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"[Linzey] brings fresh eyes to the tradition, discovers in it unexpected resources, and breathes new life into doctrines that have come to seem antiquated." --Commonweal

"Although a theologian, Linzey is clearly learned in moral philosophy. This ensures that a non-religious reader...does not feel excluded...Linzey's book provides a fine introduction to why animal suffering matters. It could, and arguably should, be utilised by universities, schools, and laypeople alike." --Times Higher Education

"A very compelling philosophical argument for the case for extending moral solicitude to all sentient beings...Far from being sentimental, [Linzey] demonstrates that a real concern for animals can be part of a radical expression of Christian faith." --Independent Catholic News

"Argues compellingly that concern for animals (chiefly mammals and birds) is not merely an emotional matter, but, rather, one that has firm rational basis, with concrete implications for human practice and social policy...The overall quality of the book...is excellent. Its seamless wedding of moral theorizing, cultural criticism, and political analysis is a paradigmatic example of how practical ethics ought to be done, and the power it might have in helping to change ideas and institutions." --Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture

"The book is philosophically sophisticated without being excessively abstruse. It also engages in a serious way with what Christian thinkers and holy texts have said about animals, but without appearing relevant only to those who are committed Christians. It will thus appeal to a very wide range of readers...Linzey's book is a treat. It is written in a smooth and accessible style, and his arguments are, on the whole, lucid and powerful...Why Animal Suffering Matters matters. It is a smart, sensitive book from which academics and non-academics, philosophers and non-philosophers, the religious and the non-religious, and those with passionate and casual interests in animals, all will benefit." --Environmental Ethics

"A great resource if you're looking for an accessible and moderate introduction to a common sense and broad case for taking animal well-being and suffering seriously."--Not One Sparrow

"Andrew Linzey is virtually synonymous with the discipline of animal theology: a discipline that he has legitimate claim to have single-handedly invented. Therefore, we can safely say that a dearth of originality has never been among Linzey's faults. This book, I believe, ranks as one of his finest works--perhaps even the finest. It is original, engaging, and impressive, and comprises a skillful interweaving of theological and ethical argument, systematic analysis, and (mercilessly destructive) criticism of hugely significant public documents on hunting with dogs, fur farming, and commercial sealing, underwritten by a form of Chomskyan social criticism." --Mark Rowlands, Professor of Philosophy, University of Miami

"Philosophically astute, theologically sensitive, and eminently readable, the Reverend Professor Linzey's innovative thesis is that, far from grounding a secondary moral significance to animals, their (alleged) lakc of reasoning and linguistic capacities to argue for treating them with the care and concern that we extend to our very young. This is required reading for not only those interested in the plight of animals, but also for all who reflect upon how a moral life should be lived." --Mark H. Bernstein, Joyce and Edward E. Brewer Chair of Applied Ethics at Purdue University


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195379772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195379778
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.3 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,576,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Reverend Andrew Linzey: A Brilliant ethicist gets to the root of social mechanisms that perpetuate animal suffering & why it is important to recognize animals as sentient individuals & why animal suffering matters. This book should be among the number one choice books of all books on behalf of animals. This book is also an in-depth study of how our past & current western views on animals have influenced & influence the way things are as well as an in-depth & comprehensive study of our how society excludes animals and why this should not be the case. This book is not a theological account but rather very much a comprehensive study & a very deep non-religious ethical study that does include theological theories. Says Philosopher Joel Marks in his review of this book, "Linzey is very much the analytic philosopher in the way he employs logic to assist his opponents in being hoisted by their own petards. This is where philosophers typically come into their own, since the premises of an argument often rely on empirical knowledge, which is not our accustomed turf. Linzey must be especially commended, therefore, for the extensive groundwork he has done in researching the factual territory of his case studies."

I am a HUGE fan of Reverend Andrew Linzey who is both an accomplished ethicist and theologian. In this book Reverend Andrew Linzey DEEP DIVES into EVEN MORE powerful intellectual, ethical and theological arguments on behalf of valuing animal suffering and WHY IT DOES INDEED MATTER VERY MUCH (See Animal Gospel by Andrew Linzey). It is not enough to recognize that animals suffer, but it is crucial to learn WHY their suffering has value.
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Format: Paperback
Professor Linzey's provocative perspective compels attention and reflection. Few write on the matter so passionately and elegantly as Andrew Linzey. While some readers may differ with certain aspects of his argument, his overall message is compelling and worth serious consideration by everyone. Thankfully for those on whose behalf he writes, many will find his argument persuasive. A major contribution to the body of evidence raising consciousness about the wellbeing of our fellow sentient beings.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE theology seems a bit whacked - references to books not found in most Bibles
I don't have a Bible that includes the apocrypha
Still, full marks to the author for his commitment
Just seems a shame quite a few of his claims I find hard to relate to
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read a number of animal rights/welfare books, including from Peter Singer and Gary Francione, and this was by far the poorest. This reads like a theologician's self-indulgence. First off, who really cares about the religious angle in the first place? It's irrelevant. The bible is not a a reliable guide to ethics due to the many alterations and translations and re-translations it has gone through so Christians looking for theological guidance are better off using their own brains and listening to their hearts rather than spend money on this book. Worse, the book beats about the bush. Doesn't confront the tricky questions such as lab animals at all. So what's the point of the exercise? I wish I could hand it back, get my money back. For a clear introduction to animal rights, including a survey of the history of animal rights, I recommend Gary Francione's Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? Never mind Francione's personality or his politics otherwise. His book is is sharply and logically written and he manages to keep his other stuff out of it, mostly.

Edit 2015. Having read a few more books on the subject matter, I would now recommend "Taking Animals Seriously" by David DeGrazia as an alternative to this book. DeGrazia doesn't come at the question from a theological angle but from a secular philosophical angle. His book is scholarly and well written, and quite possibly the most comprehensive philosophical work on the issue. One can skip Singer and Regan as their thoughts are discussed in detail in this book as well.
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