Animal Rights and Souls in the Eighteenth Century

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Aaron V. Garrett
A&C Black - Nature
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The publication of 'Animal Rights and Souls in the 18th Century' will be welcomed by everyone interested in the development of the modern animal liberation movement, as well as by those who simply want to savour the work of enlightenment thinkers pushing back the boundaries of both science and ethics. At last these long out-of-print texts are again available to be read and enjoyed - and what texts they are! Gems like Bougeant's witty reductio of the Christian view of animals are included together with path-breaking works of ethics such as Primatt's A Dissertation on the Duty of Mercy and Sin of Cruelty to Brute Animals. There are works I have never seen before, including the remarkable Cry of Nature by the Scottish revolutionary Jacobin, John Oswald. In this set, everyone will find something novel, delightful and truly enlightening.
- Peter Singer


The discussion of animal rights and the moral status of animals, so prevalent in the late twentieth century, has its roots in the mid to late eighteenth century. Some of the themes we consider of recent invention - the legal standing of animals, the ethical status of vegetarians, cruelty towards animals, ultimately resulting in cruelty to humans - are of long standing. But in the eighteenth-century literature they are interconnected with theological issues surrounding animal souls, the birth of the life sciences, the great chain of being and other peculiarly eighteenth-century problems.

This collection explores the exciting early discussions of moral theories concerning animals, placing them within their historical and social context. It reveals that issues such as vivisection, animal souls and vegetarianism were very much live philosophical subjects 200 years ago.

The six volumes reprinted here includes complete works and edited extracts from such key eighteenth-century thinkers as Oswald, Primatt, Smellie, Monboddo and Jenyns. Many of the materials are extremely rare and never previously reprinted. The collection, edited with a new introduction and bio-bibliography by Aaron V. Garrett provides valuable original source material to supplement contemporary discussions of animal rights.

--18th-century material on the theme of animal rights and practical ethics
--an important supplement to contemporary animal rights discussions
--provides a broader account of early discussions of the 'science of human nature' through animals
--widens our understanding of 18th-century ethics through an important area of practical ethics
--includes many scarce texts, most of which have never been reprinted before


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