PhD student Khodapanah Behnam

45000 €

The moral status of animals in Islamic philosophy: a comparative and critical study

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kaksivuotinen

In this project I want to inquire into the moral status of animals in some modern animal ethicists, Peter Siner, Tom Regan and Martha Nussbaum, and on the other hand, between the two major figures of Islamic philosophy, Avicenna and MullaSadra. By looking at some of the most important contemporary approaches to animal ethics, I want to investigate the possibility of a dialogue between these two historically distinct approaches regarding animals. My study takes its cue from the central question concerning the criteria of considering a being as a legitimate object of moral consideration, i.e. as ‘somebody’ instead of ‘something’. My initial hypothesis is that the dominant point of view regarding non-human animals in the Islamic tradition is an attitude that in the contemporary animal ethics is known as speciesism, i.e. discrimination against non-human animals on the basis of species. It is this attitude that could come up with regarding other species as inferior to us and following that exploitation and cruelty toward them. This work hopes to inquire the roots and the reasons of such approaches, by finding the causes and the reasons for that and then a critical view over them. As a consequence, in addition to being a comparative study of two historically different contexts on a single subject matter, my work will also be a critical evaluation of the Islamic philosophy, with a focus on the views of two major Muslim philosophers regarding non-human animals. Meanwhile assessing their ideas on non-human animals, finding their views about the capabilities of humans should be also important, because until we don't know the human capabilities, we cannot find the similarities and dissimilarities between humans and animals.