Critique of Callicott's Biosocial Moral Theory

John Hadley

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    Abstract

    J. Baird Callicott's claim to have unified environmentalism and animal liberation should be rejected by holists and liberationists. By making relations of intimacy necessary for moral considerability, Callicott excludes from the moral community nonhuman animals unable to engage in intimate relations due to the circumstances of their confinement. By failing to afford moral protection to animals in factory farms and research laboratories, Callicott's biosocial moral theory falls short of meeting a basic moral demand of liberationists. Moreover, were Callicott to include factory farm and research animals inside the moral community by affording them universal or non-communitarian rights, his theory would fall foul of environmentalists who seek to promote ecosystem stability and integrity via therapeutic hunting. If factory farm and research animals can have rights irrespective of their particular circumstances, then so can free- roaming animals from overabundant and exotic species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-78
    Number of pages12
    JournalEthics and the Environment
    Volume12
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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