Filosofický časopis (Aug 2021)

Lidská morálka a morálka u zvířat

  • Kocourek, David

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 69, no. 3
pp. 525 – 543


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The text examines the question as to whether (non-human) animals can be moral. The starting point of the discussion is Frans de Waal’s critique of veneer theory, which is here identified as being a false dichotomy that misses the possibility that morality could be something different than natural, instinctive behaviour, but at the same time not conflict with such behaviour. This is the view of morality that the text advocates. After a brief presentation of some of the other authors engaged in the debate about animal morality (e.g., Korsgaard or Bekoff and Pierce), the author suggests a criterion to distinguish a proper morality from mere pro-social behaviour: this criterion is cultural variability. The key difference between human moral behaviour and animal “moral” behaviour is that human moral norms vary greatly across different cultures or time periods, while in animals – as far as we know – they stay the same for any community of a given species.