Category Archives: Ethics & Justice

An Elephant’s Tears

sad-elephantFrom Do Animals Cry?, by Maria Konnikova:

‘An elephant’s tears may be expressing real sadness—or they could be just a physiological stress response, be it to separation from a mother or the related absence of touch. At the end, though, does that distinction really matter? Even in humans, tears can means myriad things—from sadness, to frustration, to anger, to those moments when you’re not even sure why you’re crying to begin with. And human or other animal, no matter if the tears are instinctual or conscious, once shed they attain the same purpose—the purpose of most any bout of crying, whatever the reason: to be comforted, whether it’s by a fellow elephant or a sympathetic human.’

‘Philosophy of Captivity’

From Philosophy of Captivity, Lori Gruen interviewed by Richard Marshall:

‘Human exceptionalism also underlies skepticism [when it speaks] about including other animals in the sphere of moral concern. It is related to two other views that are discussed more often in the literature about moral considerability—speciesism and anthropocentrism. Speciesism is the view that I only owe moral consideration to members of my own species. Anthropocentrism is the view that humans are at the center of everything and that everything is understood through our human interpretive lenses.

‘Entangled empathy is developed by having a fuller picture of what is happening to others, coming to discern what the interests of others may be, imagining how those interests are experienced, and figuring out how our actions directly and indirectly impact another’s well-being.’