Anthropomorphism as a methodological problem of animal ethics (in the memory of Sir Patrick Bateson)

Open access


The paper aims to highlight the serious methodological issue of contemporary bioethics (especially topics on the subject of animal ethics). In the discourse on the issue of the pain and suffering of animals and in derived questions, a certain form of anthropomorphism is manifested. Ethical applications of empirical research results that are relevant to humans (or humans as an anatomically and physiologically analogous animal species) are preferred. Subsequently, these extrapolations serve as a criterion for judging the qualitative level of the capabilities of all animals. Serious ethical conclusions are drawn from this reduction.

BATESON, P. (1991): Assesment of pain in animals. In: Animal Behaviour, 42(5), pp. 827–839.

BATESON, P. (2017): Behaviour, Development and Evolution. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers.

BATESON, P. (2005): Ethics and behavioral biology. In: Advances in the Study of Behaviour, 35, pp. 211–233.

BONNET, X., SHINE, R. & LOURDAIS, O. (2002): Taxonomic chauvinism. In: Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 17(1), pp. 1–3.

COTTINGHAM, R. (2008): Cartesian Reflections. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

HARRISON, P. (1991): Do Animals Feel Pain? In: Philosophy, 66(255), pp. 25–40.

JONAS, H. (2005): Evoluce a svoboda [Evolution and freedom]. In: Lidé města, 7(2) [online] [Retrieved September 17, 2017]. Available at:

JONAS, H. (2016): Organism and Freedom: An Essay in Philosophical Biology. In: J. O. Bechers & F. Preußger (eds.): Berlin: Hans Jonas Zentrum.

MARTIN, P. (2017): Sir Patrick Bateson obituary. In: The Guardian, 14.8. 2017 [online] [Retrieved September 20, 2017]. Available at:

MÜLLEROVÁ. H., ČERNÝ, D., DOLEŽAL, A. et al. (2016): Kapitoly o právech zvířat. „My a oni“ z pohledu filosofie, etiky, biologie a práva [Chapters on animal rights. „we and they” form perspective of philosophy, ethics, biology and law]. Prague: Academia.

POST, S. G. (ed.) (2004): Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 3rd ed. New York: Thomson & Macmillan.

REGAN, T. (2003): Animal Rights, Human Wrongs: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

ROSENTHAL, M. F., GERTLER, M., HAMILTON, A. D., PRASAD, S. & ANDRADE, M. C. B. (2017): Taxonomic bias in animal behaviour publications. In: Animal Behaviour, 127, pp. 83–89.

SNEDDON, L. U., ELWOOD, R. W., ADAMO, S. A. & LEACH, M. C. (2014): Defining and assessing animal pain. In: Animal Behaviour, 94, pp. 201–212.

VLACHOVÁ, V. & VIKLICKÝ, L. (1999): Současné trendy výzkumu buněčných mechanismů nocicepce [Current trends in nociception’ cell mechanisms research]. In: Bolest, 1, pp. 8–15 [online] [Retrieved September 17, 2017]. Available at:

Ethics & Bioethics

(in Central Europe)

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 310 301 23
PDF Downloads 136 132 15