Cognitive Kin, Moral Strangers? Linking Animal Cognition, Animal Ethics & Animal Welfare


In Cognitive Kin, Moral Strangers?, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg reveals the scope and relevance of cognitive kinship between humans and non-human animals. She presents a wide range of empirical studies on culture, language and theory of mind in animals and then leads us to ask why such complex socio-cognitive abilities in animals matter. Her focus is on ethical theory as well as on the practical ways in which we use animals. Are great apes maybe better described as non-human persons? Should we really use dolphins as entertainers or therapists? Benz-Schwarzburg demonstrates how much we know already about animals’ capabilities and needs and how this knowledge should inform the ways in which we treat animals in captivity and in the wild.

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Biographical Note

Dr. Judith Benz-Schwarzburg is a Senior Researcher at the Messerli Research Institute, Vienna, who works and publishes at the intersection of animal cognition and animal ethics. She is currently leading a research group on animal morality.


The book spans an exceptional interdisciplinary range. Possible readers are: academic scholars (especially MA and Phd students) in the field of Human-Animal Studies, specifically with a background in philosophy/ethics, comparative cognition/animal behaviour and animal welfare. But also educated laypeople who are interested in an interdisciplinary and scientifically informed approach to animal cognition, animal ethics, and animal welfare. Libraries and institutes devoted to HAS should be interested as students are the main intended readership.

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