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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 5, 2018

The Rights of Non-Humans: From Animals to Silent Nature

  • Ovadia Ezra


During the last few decades, there have emerged organizations, as well as theorists, that demand our respect for and acknowledgement of animal rights. The comprehensive meaning of such a claim is virtually a demand to extend the boundaries of morality, its range of applicability, and its validity, beyond human beings alone. This Article intends to continue this tendency and suggests another breakthrough in mankind’s moral attitude, this time towards silent nature. I argue that in the same manner that we make non-anthropocentric moral considerations with regard to animals as living creatures, we should expand our concern toward silent nature, too.

Before this Article was to be published Prof. Ovadia Ezra died after a long battle with cancer. Throughout his illustrious career, which was cut too short, too early, Prof. Ezra, an earnest philosopher and conscientious objector, was never afraid to tackle difficult philosophical issues that many others often shied away from. He bravely stood, at times paying a personal price, for issues that he believed in. He had a unique manner of examining actual ethical and philosophical situations − refusing to settle for a general “academic” discussion. In this Article, Prof. Ezra calls for a “demand to extend the boundaries of morality, its range of applicability, and its validity, beyond human beings alone,” offering a unique understanding of the special relationship between humans, animals, and silent nature and our moral responsibility for both. In closure, Prof. Ezra leaves us with this poignant message, “[w]hat should always be in our mind is that we must remain humble and modest while interacting with nature and remember that there are other entities whose moral status and rights should be respected.” Prof. Ezra will surely be missed.

Published Online: 2018-1-5
Published in Print: 2017-1-26

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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