In this article, I follow up on a suggestion made by Josephine Donovan that a Hume-inspired ethic of sympathy would be a better foundation for an animal ethic than more rationalistic approaches of both utilitarianism and deontology. I then expand on Donovan’s suggestion by further suggesting that Hume’s “sentiment of humanity” could easily be expanded to include other animals. Hume’s ethic of sympathy, I argue, answers the need for an ethic that is at once both personal, contextual, and sufficiently universalizable to incorporate the political need for something like justice. I say, “something like justice,” because animals are explicitly ruled out of justice relationships by Hume due to his more narrow definition of that term. What I mean by “something like justice” is a more impersonal and objective element (Hume’s “general point of view”) that transcends exclusively personal or private interests.
Causey, Robert M.
"Fellow Creatures: The Humean Case for Animal Ethics,"
Between the Species:
1, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bts/vol18/iss1/3