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Review of Adela Cortina, Las fronteras de la persona. El valor de los animales, la dignidad de los humanos

2013.12.13

AUTHOR: Robert Hall, Philosophy Faculty, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, University of West Virginia
TITLE: Review of Adela Cortina, Las fronteras de la persona. El valor de los animales, ladignidad de los humanos, Taurus, Madrid, 2009, 240 pp.

PUBLICATION DATE: December 2013
PUBLICATION PLACE: dA webCenter

ABSTRACT

In his review of Adele Cortina´s Las fronteras de la persona. El valor de los animales, la dignidad de los humanos (Taurus, Madrid, 2009), Professor Robert Hall from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of West Virginia and Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, sketches the arguments Cortina makes with regards to the relationship between humans and animals. Originally published in Dianoia, the summary provides an insightful take on the strengths and weaknesses of the author´s arguments. According to Hall, Cortina presents three options for considering animals in the ethical system: first to accept non-human animals on the same terms as humans; second to include animals into the ethical argument, though with a certain moral gradation; and third to leave the situation as it is due to lack of evidence to change the current classification.
Hall notes that while Cortina argues in favor of including animals into ethical arguments, she does so mostly via negation of the other two options rather than by structuring an argument in favor of the second. Cortina argues that inalienable and unique human traits put them on an ethical footing above non-human animals. As a result, Cortina argues that animals have values, but not rights, a position which, Hall argues, leaves them, whether intentionally or unintentionally, at the whims of human rights. 
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