According to Spinoza, there is no categorical distinction between human and non-human animals: they all belong to the same nature and all consist of bodies with corresponding ideas. This thesis gives rise to two problems. How is it possible to distinguish different types of animals, in particular nonrational and rational ones, if all of them have the same metaphysical structure? And why does Spinoza nevertheless claim that human beings have a privileged status that gives them the right to use non-rational animals? This paper examines these two problems, arguing that the solution to both of them lies in Spinoza’s all-embracing naturalism.
© De Gruyter