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Journal Article

Person-Rearing Relationships as a Key to Higher Moral Status

Agnieszka Jaworska and Julie Tannenbaum
Ethics
Vol. 124, No. 2 (January 2014), pp. 242-271
DOI: 10.1086/673431
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673431
Page Count: 30
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Person-Rearing Relationships as a Key to Higher Moral Status
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Abstract

Why does a baby who is otherwise cognitively similar to an animal such as a dog nevertheless have a higher moral status? We explain the difference in moral status as follows: the baby can, while a dog cannot, participate as a rearee in what we call “person-rearing relationships,” which can transform metaphysically and evaluatively the baby’s activities. The capacity to engage in these transformed activities has the same type of value as the very capacities (i.e., intellectual or emotional sophistication) that explain unimpaired adult humans’ high moral status. We attempt to extend this account to individuals with severe cognitive impairments.

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