Drawing upon the rich interdisciplinary resources of animal studies-biology and other sciences, philosophy, history, storytelling and other arts--this book develops a notion of ethical fullness extending from human beings to animals, to plants, then to all things--large and small, tangible and intangible, living and nonliving, familiar and strange--in which everything is ethical, each in inexhaustibly varied ways. It draws deeply upon philosophical and other academic forms of ethics, yet is critical of their limitations. It is similarly critical of scientific research on animals and the rest of things. It intersperses personal, literary, scientific, and technical discussions in its arguments and organization. The key to ethics is how to deal with others in their strangeness; the key to animal ethics is how surprising animals are, as are plants in their responses and capabilities. These insights extend to the things of the world, in wonder at the fullness of their being, at how enchanting they are, nonidentical with themselves. The central theme of the book is that a life of ethical fullness is infinitely demanding, impossible, full of wounds, and joys, and promises. It asks us to change the ways we live, and think, and believe; to live more intimately, to believe more subjunctively, to think more questioningly. It promotes art and literature as ethical resources in our scientific and daily work. It links human lives and practices with the things of the natural world, providing a new and different approach to environmental and global issues. It answers the most demanding question of ethics, why should we be just, why should we live ethically? Because that way of life is ethically full.
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