Animals and Our Animality from a New Aristotelian View

Mutlu B.

BEYTULHIKME-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY, vol.10, no.2, pp.511-580, 2020 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Index Islamicus, Philosopher's Index, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.511-580
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


Within contemporary philosophy, animals have rightly been the subject of an important discussion. Singer started this process, and many important philosophers also participated in this discussion. One of these names, Richard Sorabji, put forward the following thesis: Western philosophy caused an important crisis especially in the field of moral philosophy and philosophy of mind with its approach towards animals. The emergence of this crisis in the field of moral philosophy is based on not knowing our moral responsibilities towards animals. Human beings put themselves at the top of the hierarchy of living things like value and consequently found the right to do what they wanted to the animals, and they could easily kill and slaughter animals for various reasons. Sorabji rightly begins this crisis with Aristotle, because he states that "humans" are separated from animals by "reason/rationality", which is a unique faculty for human beings, and that animals exist for humans by nature. Many philosophers have made the distinction between "human" and "non-human animal" a powerful philosophical tradition with such statements. However, revolts and objections against this distinction are increasing rightly. Environmental ethicists, Utilitarians, Kantians and Aristotelians have written works on this subject. In this study, we will focus on the Aristotelian philosophers Alasdair MacIntyre, Rosalind Hursthouse and Martha Nussbaum. With paying attention to the reading of these philosophers, we will emphasize that, even though Sorabji is based the crisis on Aristotle, the acceleration of the crisis is also about getting away from Aristotelianism, and that the first biologist, Aristotle, cannot be read in line with philosophers like Descartes.