Accueil > Activités > 2018-2019 > Animal Vulnerability

Animal Vulnerability

mardi 12 mars 2019, par Angela Martin


Angela Martin

Université de Fribourg.


While sentience and its normative implications have been discussed for some time in animal ethics, animal vulnerability has received less attention in the literature. In my talk, I will focus on the notion of animal vulnerability, its definition and its moral force, in comparison to sentience ascriptions.

In a first step, I will analyze different understandings of vulnerability : vulnerability as being broad in scope, encompassing everyone by their very nature, and vulnerability as a property of just a few in need of special protection and additional attention. I will then argue in favor of a definition of vulnerability that encompasses all beings with interests, but at the same time allows for the special protection of some individuals in certain contexts. Furthermore, I will discuss the normative implications of vulnerability ascriptions in a few case examples. Finally, I will conclude by outlining the differences between vulnerability and sentience ascriptions to animals : while sentience is a sufficient reason to ascribe moral status to a being, vulnerability draws our attention to those who are more likely not to be given what they are factually due.