Most approaches to animal ethics ground the moral standing of nonhumans in some appeal to their capacities for intelligent autonomy or mental sentience. Corporal Compassion emphasizes the phenomenal and somatic commonality of living beings; a philosophy of body that seeks to displace any notion of anthropomorphic empathy in viewing the moral experiences of nonhuman living beings. Ralph R. Acampora employs phenomenology, hermeneutics, existentialism and deconstruction to connect and contest analytic treatments of animal rights and liberation theory. In doing so, he focuses on issues of being and value, and posits a felt nexus of bodily being, termed symphysis, to devise an interspecies ethos. Acampora uses this broad-based bioethic to engage in dialogue with other strains of environmental ethics and ecophilosophy.
Corporal Compassion examines the practical applications of the somatic ethos in contexts such as laboratory experimentation and zoological exhibition and challenges practitioners to move past recent reforms and look to a future beyond exploitation or total noninterference--a posthumanist culture that advocates caring in a participatory approach.