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    According to asymmetrical Kantianism, humans, but not animals, should be granted certain inviolable moral rights, including the right to be treated as ‘ends-in-themselves’. By limiting the application of Kantian principles to humans, we effectively demote animals to the status of mere means to (non-)human ends and pave the way for the justification of unwarranted practices of animal exploitation. In this article, I will attempt to refute asymmetrical Kantianism by arguing against its underlying idea that the possession of personhood is a necessary requirement for having moral rights. I will do so by showing that the possession of selfhood should be considered a necessary and sufficient requirement for having such rights. I will argue that at least some animals should be seen as possessing selfhood, which makes their treatment as mere means to an end morally untenable.


Boyd T.C. Leupen
Boyd Leupen studeerde Politicologie aan achtereenvolgens de Universiteit van Amsterdam en de Universiteit Leiden. In 2015 won hij de Masterscriptieprijs van het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap Leiden voor zijn scriptie ‘The moral standing of animals: Refuting asymmetrical Kantianism’. Momenteel is hij werkzaam als consultant voor TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network) en verricht hij onderzoek naar de illegale handel in beschermde diersoorten in Zuidoost-Azië.
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