Animals, Language and Ethics

  • Philip J. SampsonEmail author
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


Changes in the way we talk about animals can narrow or expand ethical debates about them. During the twentieth century, a consensus narrative emerged that a more humanitarian way of talking about animals had to await the demise of Christian ‘dominion thought’, the idea that God gave humans mastery over animals, to use as we please. The claim is that a more modest and humane view of humanity’s place in the universe could only emerge with the collapse of the Christian vision. This chapter explores this narrative, introduces motifs which will subsequently recur and suggests that the growth of more compassionate attitudes towards animals in modernity is more complex than the consensus narrative suggests.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Centre for Animal EthicsOxfordUK

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