Animal thoughts on factory farms : Michael Leahy, language and awareness of death

Humphreys, Rebekah (2008) Animal thoughts on factory farms : Michael Leahy, language and awareness of death. Between the Species, 13 (8). pp. 1-16. ISSN 1945-8487

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The idea that language is necessary for thought and emotion is a dominant one in philosophy. Animals have taken the brunt of this idea, since it is widely held that language is exclusively human. Michael Leahy (1991) makes a case against the moral standing of factory-farmed animals based on such ideas. His approach is Wittgensteinian: understanding is a thought process that requires language, which animals do not possess. But he goes further than this and argues that certain factory farming methods do not cause certain sufferings to the animals used, since animals lack full awareness of their circumstances. In particular he argues that animals do not experience certain sufferings at the slaughterhouse since, lacking language, they are unaware of their fate (1991). Through an analysis of Leahy’s claims this paper aims to explore and challenge both the idea that thought and emotion require language and that only humans possess language.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals, Death, Factory farms
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities
Depositing User: Rebekah Humphreys
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 08:34
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2020 15:56

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