Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Do All Subjects of a Life Have an Equal Right to Life: the Challenge of the Comparative Value of Life




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



In The Case for Animal Rights, Tom Regan argues that all subjects of a life have equal inherent value and an equal right to not be caused harm. Moreover, he defends the idea that one of the ways in which subjects of a life can be harmed is by being killed. This implies that all subjects of a life have an equal right not to be killed. One of the most important challenges to this view stems from the thought that the value of life is greater for more psychologically complex beings. This has led philosophers like Mary Anne Warren to hold that some beings have a stronger right to life than others. I argue that it makes sense to think that life has greater value for some beings than others. However, I aim to reconcile this position with Regan's view that all subjects of a life possess a strong right to life. Along the way, I point out some of Regan's key contributions to our understanding of the mental lives and moral status of animals.

Conference Name

Tom Regan: A Celebration Workshop

Conference Location

Raleigh, NC

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