Brutalisation Argument

As an illustration of the brutalisation argument (which it may also be noted was the underlying basis of early animal protection laws, cf. Module 2.10.), reference is sometimes made to a series of prints by William Hogarth ("The Four Stages of Cruelty", 1751). The pictures tell the story of Tom Nero. In the midst of a general atmosphere of animal cruelty Nero evolves from a tormentor of animals to a murderer. He is ultimately executed and his corpse is released for crude, amateurish anatomical examinations.

A reconstruction of Kant's animal ethics, however, suggests that the Kantian approach encompasses more than the thesis that through animal cruelty man indirectly endangers his fellow man.

Kant, Immanuel: The metaphysics of morals (Die Metaphysik der Sitten]. Transl. and ed. by Mary J. Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1996. 

Baranzke, Heike (2002): Würde der Kreatur? Die Idee der Würde im Horizont der Bioethik. Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann (Würzburger wissenschaftliche Schriften), on Kant especially Chapter IV, 122-223.

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