By Simon P. Oswitch, MySpace: www.myspace.com/simon289
Western philosophical and religious attitudes toward animals typically emphasize human superiority due to cognitive and linguistic differences between the species; humans are deemed as uniquely rational, self-conscious, and language-using: they are therefore regarded as the morally greater type.
Animals are viewed as means to human ends, embodying only a property value; the underlying notion that animals are sentient and have the ability to suffer is typically overridden. There is, however, fairly consistent mention of “humane” treatment of animals though this is usually concerned with an eventual mistreatment of humans. Though these have been the dominant Western historical views, there have been dissenting perspectives, some of which are ancient.
This work will offer an overview of both focusing on those that are most representative.
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