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Pets and PeopleThe Ethics of Companion Animals$
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Christine Overall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456085.001.0001

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Friendship with Companion Animals

Friendship with Companion Animals

(p.21) 2 Friendship with Companion Animals
Pets and People

Cynthia Townley

Oxford University Press

Animals seem to be friends with one another and with humans, as they show clear affiliations and preferences for some individuals over others. The relationships between humans and their animal companions or pets can meet the criteria of at least some philosophical accounts of human friendship. Animals can demonstrate some of the relevant virtues, such as courage and forbearance, and can participate in a shared life, including some interactions governed by norms. Admittedly, humans can interact in ways that are likely beyond the scope of nonhuman animals, such as complex narrative explanations. But narrative explanations are not the most important aspect of friendship, and are probably absent from many friendships between humans. In spite of differences in power and capacities, there are genuine and deep friendships between humans and animal companions.

Keywords:   animal companion, friendship, norm, pet, virtue

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