Entangled Telos and its Ethical Implications

Michael Furac 

This discussion explores the implications of the human ‘telos’ being entangled with animals, both domestic and wild. Our concept of ‘human’ has been affected and changed through our interactions throughout history with animals means we have a distinct, modern perspective of human-animal relations. Our ethical role towards animals is unique to this particular era, and, for reasons that will be discussed, cannot be reduced to a simple « good/bad » binary. Animals and humans have co-habited in such a way that has entangled our lives. Modern human life appears impossible without the use of domesticated farm-animals, animals for research, and the destruction of natural environments. What results do we see on the end of the human’s ‘telos’? And what responsibility springs from realizing this entanglement? Ultimately, this question is the first step to better understanding the kinds of responsibilities that humans hold towards animals in the present moment.

References:

Lori Gruen, « Entangled Empathy ».

Rosalind Hursthouse, « Virtue Ethics and the Treatment of Animals ».

Bernard Rollin, « On ‘Telos’ and genetic Engineering ».