cover of book

Morals, Reason, and Animals
by S. Sapontzis
Temple University Press, 1992
Cloth: 978-0-87722-493-8 | Paper: 978-0-87722-961-2
Library of Congress Classification HV4708.S23 1987
Dewey Decimal Classification 179.3

"Direct and highly readable.... Sapontzis tries to show that certain differences between humans and animals, including differences in reason, even if they have moral import, do not make the case against animals that many people think they do and do not underwrite many facets of our present treatment of animals."

--R. G. Frey, Ethics

This book criticizes the common belief that we are entitled to exploit animals for our benefit because they are not as rational as people. After discussing the moral (in)significance of reason in general, the author proceeds to develop a clear, commonsensical conception of what "animal rights" is about and why everyday morality points toward the liberation of animals as the next logical step in Western moral progress. The book evaluates criticisms of animal rights that have appeared in recent philosophical literature and explains the consequences of animal liberation for our diet, science, and treatment of the environment.

The issue of animal rights has become of increasing philosophical and popular importance over the past decade. Morals. Reason, and Animals is the first extensive, second-generation contribution to this debate. Focusing exclusively on the fundamental philosophical issues, Sapontzis both undermines the arguments that have been raised against animal rights and constructs a rebuttal that avoids the pitfalls encountered by earlier defenses.

"In my opinion only five authors have made a significant philosophical contribution to the endeavor of placing animals in ethical theory: Singer, Frey, Regan, Mary Midgley, and S. F. Sapontzis. [Morals, Reason, and Animals is] an excellent, underappreciated work."

--David DeGrazia, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal

"Sapontzis presents a strong case for including animals in the moral community, and his work is an important and unique contribution to animal rights literature."

--The Animals' Agenda

"Sapontzis advances a bold and provocative defense for the liberation of animals, arguing that the requirement of rationality--in its morally relevant sense--does not rule out the possibility of extending moral rights to animals.... The views articulated here are original and, at points, controversial...making this an important book. Moreover, the style is extremely clear and readable. Highly recommended."


"In this work, Sapontzis provides a philosophically sophisticated and far-ranging contribution to the current debate on animal liberation.... Given the wide range of arguments, authors, and topics discussed, [this] may be the most comprehensive work to date on animal liberation."


"This is an excellent contribution to the animal rights movement. The author's clear, simple, readable, and often witty style makes the book quite accessible to anyone with serious interest in the field.... Morals, Reason, and Animals is a highly original, creative, and important book."

--Bernard Rollin, Colorado State University

"This book offers a number of fresh perspectives and stimulating new arguments in a subject area that is dauntingly dense with articles and books [Sapontzis] has managed to present a broad variety of subtle philosophical issues in a clear and forceful manner...."

--Thomas Benson, Academic Dean, St. Andrews Presbyterian College
Nearby on shelf for Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology / Protection, assistance and relief / Protection of animals. Animal rights. Animal welfare: