Abstract

Given the existence of "marginal human cases," it is often argued that we must either acknowledge that some human beings have lower moral status than some nonhuman animals or commit to the idea that moral status is held by humans qua humans. In this article, the moves available on both sides are shown to be unsatisfactory, and a conception of moral status that avoids both of the standard positions is suggested. Ultimately, it is argued that the discussion of moral status is confused when marginal human cases are seen as posing a unique, rather than a general, theoretical problem.

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