Why Do We Believe Humans Matter More than Other Animals?

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
Scott Hill University of Colorado Boulder Hellems 169 UCB 232, Boulder, CO 80309-0232 USA

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Michael Bertrand The Ohio State University 350 University Hall, 230 N Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 USA

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Some recent psychological studies suggest that the belief that humans matter more than other animals can be strengthened by cognitive dissonance. Jaquet (forthcoming) argues that some of these studies also show that the relevant belief is primarily caused by cognitive dissonance and is therefore subject to a debunking argument. We offer an alternative hypothesis according to which we are already speciesist but cognitive dissonance merely enhances our speciesism. We argue that our hypothesis explains the results of the studies at least as well as Jaquet’s. We then respond to a series of objections. Along the way, we highlight various respects in which further studies are needed to decide between Jaquet’s hypothesis and ours.

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