In All That Dwell Therein, Regan goes further than Peter Singer’sAnimal Liberation. Firstly, he invokes the idea that all or some animals may indeed qualify as rights holders, something which Singer refuses to do, since “that would be making a concession to popular moral rhetoric.
Secondly, he proposes a generalized theory of rights which is based not on Singer’s equal consideration of interests principle, nor on sentience, which other philosophers have cited in arguing the case for rights, but rather on the view that the most reasonable criterion of rights possession is what he calls the criterion of inherent value. By this is meant that the individual in question, whether human or non-human, is not only a living being but is also the subject of a life that is better or worse for him (her), independently of whether anyone else finds his (her) life useful, or to put it in the language of the philosopher, “of a life which is logically independent of any other being’s taking an interest in it.”
In bringing before the public a collection of writings by one of the foremost thinkers in this domain, All That Dwell Therein has much to offer all those readers whose interests, concerns, occupations, and academic or professional affiliations cause them to ponder the true nature of man’s ethical obligations to non-human life and the environment. More particularly, it should be of interest to legislators, educators and others who may be in a position to influence the course of our moral and cultural evolution. —Peter J. Hyde, Ethics and Animals
These ten essays discuss vegetarianism, animal experimentation, whaling, the legal rights of animals, and the philosophical arguments for establishing a moral relationship with our environment.