Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Pets and PeopleThe Ethics of Companion Animals$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 October 2020

A Two-Level Utilitarian Analysis of Relationships with Pets

A Two-Level Utilitarian Analysis of Relationships with Pets

(p.64) 5 A Two-Level Utilitarian Analysis of Relationships with Pets
Pets and People

Gary Varner

Oxford University Press

The two-level utilitarianism of R. M. Hare provides a nuanced perspective on pets that mirrors the complex and varying relationships that people in different positions have to the animals most commonly kept as pets. Hare argued that real-world utilitarians need an “intuitive level” system of rules (“ILS rules”) to guide them in daily life, when explicitly utilitarian thinking would, ironically, tend to lead to decisions that do not maximize aggregate happiness. These ILS rules are selected and amended using explicitly utilitarian reasoning, and they divide into importantly different types that include laws, codes of professional ethics, and common morality. This chapter uses Harean utilitarianism to motivate a distinction among “companion animals,” “domesticated partners,” and “mere pets.” Using that distinction, the chapter then illustrates the different ways that laws, codes of professional ethics, and common morality change over time as explicitly utilitarian reasoning is used to amend them.

Keywords:   utilitarianism, R. M. (Richard Mervyn) Hare, pet, companion animal, professional ethics

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .