Growing Moral Relations

Growing Moral Relations

Growing Moral Relations

Critique of Moral Status Ascription (Palgrave 2012)


Abstract. New scientific and technological developments challenge us to reconsider the moral status of entities such as chimpanzees or artificially intelligent robots: what place should we give them in our moral world order? Engaging with a variety of theoretical sources, this book offers a relational approach to moral status that questions individualist and objectivist assumptions made in these discussions, and proposes a less dualistic view by emphasizing the entanglement of natural, social, and technological relations. But it also asks why it is so hard to move towards a more relational understanding. The author’s answer is an original discussion of the conditions of possibility of moral status ascription. Influenced by Heidegger and Wittgenstein, he argues that our specific way of ascribing moral status, and indeed the very project of moral status ‘ascription’, is made possible by, and limited by, particular linguistic, social-cultural, natural-bodily, material-technological, religious-spiritual, and historical-spatial conditions. The ‘living’ moral epistemology that emerges from this ‘philosophical yoga’ –an exercise in becoming more aware of your moral breathing – urges us to recognize that changing our moral thinking depends on the growth of our relations and hence of our form of life.

Review by David Gunkel in Ethics and Information Technology

Review by Jac Swart in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

Review by Ted Benton in Environmental Values

Review by Frank Jankunis in Environmental Philosophy

Review by Bernhard Irrgang in Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger

About Growing Moral Relations:

a real game changer. … a penetrating analysis of moral status …  has a great deal to contribute to recent debates concerning the contested ethical status of others, especially those other kinds of others, like animals, the environment, and theincreasingly intelligent machines of our own making.” —–David Gunkel in Ethics and Information Technology

an important contribution to animal ethicsI really hope that it may attract attention not only from academics but also from people that have to deal with issues of moral standing of non-human animals in their daily practice.” —–Jac Swart in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

grateful for the fascinating journey through some unfamiliar philosophical territory!” —–Ted Benton in Environmental Values

as a philosopher working on a relational understanding of moral status, I found this book stimulating. Coeckelbergh effortless movement between the literatures of diverse philosophical traditions is laudable. … an impressive contribution to the literature on moral status.” —–Frank Jankunis in Environmental Philosophy

Ein alternativer Ansatz in der Ethikbegründung und Moralphilosophie, der höchst interessant und durchdacht erscheint.”
-----Bernhard Irrgang in Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger