Animals and Philosophy

Good and evil are not unique to humans.

Some have argued both from religious and from atheistic points of view that “good” and “evil” are nonsensical concepts. At least, they apply only to mythological beings like Satan or Lucifer, designed to personify abstract ideas – not to mortal creatures, whether human or otherwise. After all, the religious person could argue (and some have) that God is ultimately in charge of everything, including our thoughts and predilections, so if we do bad things, then the ball is ultimately in His court. It’s not our fault. So although we may behave in evil ways, we are not ourselves evil. On the other hand, some of those who reject the idea of God altogether also reject the idea that there can be any “objective” criterion of goodness or badness at all. As Hamlet put the matter, “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so”. “Evil” is usually taken to mean the epitome, the essence, of badness, but if badness is just an arbitrary notion, what does

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