22 August 2004

Nancy E. Snow on Compassion for Animals

My thesis is that it can be, and frequently is, rational for humans to feel compassion for nonhuman animals. Compassion for animals can be explained by examining several modes of connection between humans and other animals. The connections encompass modes of identification between humans and other animals, for example: imaginative reconstructions of their subjective experiences, beliefs about humans and other animals, including beliefs about similarities between species, other emotions toward animals, such as kinship feelings, and outlooks or ways of life that reflect value judgments about and attitudes toward nonhuman animals. To feel compassion for animals is to be connected with them in an especially complex way.

(Nancy E. Snow, “Compassion for Animals,” Between the Species [spring 1993]: 61-6, at 61)

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