I'm asking this question on behalf of https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/users/47/curi

I'm a philosopher (and programmer) attempting to research and diagram arguments relating to animal rights. I'm looking for help finding literature with certain types of pro animal rights arguments.

What I've done so far:


I'm skeptical of animal rights but I'm trying to deal with the issues in an objective, truth seeking way. The types of arguments I'm looking for are specified in the diagram. I want arguments that would allow me to add more nodes to the diagram.

The main thing I'm looking for are arguments relating to modern science and computation which rigorously differentiate animals from robots controlled by software. I would expect the author to be a skilled programmer who agrees that brains are computers, understands computational universality, has something substantive to say about the difference between non-AGI algorithms and intelligence, acknowledges and specifies many types of non-intelligent algorithms (e.g. A* and everything else used in current video games), and then gives some scientific documentation of specific animal behaviors and why they can't be accounted for with non-intelligent algorithms.

I've searched a bunch and haven't been able to find this so far.

Rigorous, modern, scientific arguments that brains are not computers would also be relevant. Arguments for dualism could be relevant too. Arguments against my epistemology (Critical Rationalism) could also be relevant. I'd prefer arguments which specifically relate to nodes in my discussion tree diagram.

Academic papers are fine. Books are fine. Paywalls are fine. Nothing is too technical or detailed. But those aren't requirements, e.g. serious blog posts are OK too. I'm not very interested in people writing ad hoc rebuttals in Reddit comments. If you want to debate me personally, see https://elliottemple.com/debate-policy

1 Answer 1


You mention Peter Singer, who approaches the topic from a utilitarian rather than a right-based standpoint. Besides Animal Liberation (2nd ed., 1995), you might try:

P. Singer, The Animal Liberation Movement: its Philosophy, its Achievements and its Future. ISBN 10: 1909798622 / ISBN 13: 9781909798625 Published by Active Distribution, London, 2019.

P. Singer, ed.: In Defence of Animals. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985.ISBN 10: 063113896X / ISBN 13: 9780631138969.

Stephen Clarke is also a notable philosophical writer on the topic:

S.R.L. Clarke, The Nature of the Beast, SBN 10: 0192830414 / ISBN 13: 9780192830418 Published by Oxford University Press, 1984.

S.R.L. Clark, The Moral Status of Animals. Published by Oxford Paperbacks (1984) ISBN 10: 0192830406 ISBN 13: 9780192830401.

See also:

Magnus Vinding, Speciesism: Why It Is Wrong and the Implications of Rejecting It. ISBN 10: 154651032X / ISBN 13: 9781546510321 Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.

M. Hauser, Moral Minds, Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. ISBN 10: 0349118094 / ISBN 13: 9780349118093 Published by Abacus, 2008. [Claims only humans have evolved morality.]

Julian H. Franklin, Animal Rights And Moral Philosophy. ISBN 10: 0231134223 / ISBN 13: 9780231134224. Published by Columbia University Press, 2005.

R. Ryder, The Animal Revolution: Changing Attitudes to Speciesism. Oxford: Blackwell, 1989. ISBN 10: 0631152393 / ISBN 13: 9780631152392.

M.Midgley, Animals and Why They Matter. ISBN 10: 014022386X / ISBN 13: 9780140223866 Published by Penguin Books Ltd, 1983.

R.G. Frey, Interests and Rights: The Case Against Animals (Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy), ISBN 10: 0198244215 / ISBN 13: 9780198244219 Published by Oxford University Press, 1980. [Denies that animals have rights on the ground that they have no 'interests' in the sense defined by Frey.]

S. Godlovitch, Animals, man and morals: An enquiry into the maltreatment of non-humans. ISBN 10: 0575013443 / ISBN 13: 9780575013445 Published by Gollancz, 1971.

These texts have information relevant to the boxes in your diagram.

  • Which texts are relevant to which boxes? Which texts deal with computation? Which text, if any, differentiates animals for non-AGI algorithms?
    – curi
    Nov 21, 2019 at 0:24
  • It would help if you could number the boxes or identify them in some other way. Best - Geoffrey
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Nov 21, 2019 at 10:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .