Putting Cruelty First: Exploring Judith Shklar’s Liberalism of Fear for Animal Ethics
This paper critically examines the extent to which the debate about animal ethics can be enriched by an exploration of Judith Shklar’s liberalism of fear. Shklar’s form of liberalism proceeds from the conviction that cruelty is the greatest vice. Even though Shklar did not write with animals in mind, her work is, prima facie, promising for theorists who are concerned with animals. A focus on cruelty provides an immediate and readily-understood avenue for liberals to recognize and criticize animal suffering. Putting cruelty first also connects with the way many animal advocates talk about human mistreatment of animals. Shklar’s thinking about cruelty was powerfully shaped by Michel de Montaigne, whose essay “On Cruelty” is explicitly attentive to human cruelty to animals. Nonetheless, we need to be suspicious about how effectively a liberal conception and critique of cruelty designed for humans can be transposed to animals.
Aaltola, E. (2012). Animal suffering: Philosophy and culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Abbey, R. (2016). Closer kinships? Rortyan resources for animal rights. Contemporary Political Theory. doi:10.1057/cpt.2016.10
Adams, C. (1995). Women-battering and harm to animals. In C. J. Adams & J. Donovan (Eds.), Animals and women: Feminist theoretical explorations (pp. 55-84). Durham: Duke University Press, Durham.
Agamben, G. (2004). The open: Man and animal. California: Stanford University Press.
Akhtar, A. (2012). Animals and public health: Why treating animals better is critical to human welfare. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Allen, J. (2001). The place of negative morality in political theory. Political Theory, 29(23), 337-363.
Atterton, P., & Calarco, M. (Eds.). (2004). Animal philosophy: Ethics and identity. New York: Continuum International.
Baier, A. C. (1986). Review of Ordinary Vices by Judith Shklar. Political Theory, 14(1), 156-159.
Baruchello, G. (2004). Cesare Beccaria and the cruelty of liberalism: An essay on liberalism of fear and its limits. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 30(3), 303-313.
Cochrane, A. (2010). An introduction to animals and political theory. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cochrane, A., Garner, R., & O'Sullivan, S. (2016). Animal ethics and the political. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. DOI:10.1080/13698230.2016.1194583.
Cornell, D. (2012). Imagining a world without the violation of animals. In G. R. Smulewicz-Zucker (Ed.), Strangers to nature: Animal lives and human ethics(pp. 11-19). Lanhman, MD: Lexington Books.
De Fontenay, E. (2012). Without offending humans: A critique of animal rights. (W. Bishop, Trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Derrida, J. (2008). The animal that therefore I am. (M. Mallet, Ed.; D. Wills, Trans.). New York, NY: Fordham University Press.
De Waal, F. (2009). The age of empathy: Nature's lessons for a kinder society. Toronto, Canada: McClelland & Stewart.
Donaldson, S., & Kymlicka, W. (2011). Zoopolis: A political theory of animal rights. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Donovan, J., & Adams, C. J. (Eds.). (1996). Beyond animal rights: A feminist caring ethic for the treatment of animals. New York: Continuum.
Donovan, J., & Adams, C. J. (Eds.). (2007). The feminist care tradition in animal ethics. New York: Columbia University Press.
Edelglass, W., Hatley, J., & Diehm, C. (Eds.). (2012). Facing nature: Levinas and environmental thought. Pittsburgh, PA.: Duquesne University Press.
Engster, D. (2006). Care ethics and animal welfare. Journal of Social Philosophy, 37(4), 521-536.
Forrester, K. (2011). Hope and memory in the thought of Judith Shklar. Modern Intellectual History, 8(3), 591-620.
Fox, M. A. (2012). Relating to animals in space and time: An exercise in moral imagination. In G. R. Smulewicz-Zucker (Ed.), Strangers to nature: Animal lives and human ethics (pp. 201-212). Lanhman, MD: Lexington Books.
Garner, R. (2012). Rawls, animals and justice: New literature, same response. Res Publica, 18(2), 159-172.
Garner, R. (2013). A theory of justice for animals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gray, J. (2000). Two faces of liberalism. Oxford: Polity Press.
Gruen, L. (2015). Entangled empathy: An alternative ethic for our relationships with animals. Brooklyn, NY: Lantern Books.
Hampton, J. (1998). Punishment, feminism, and political identity: A case study in the expressive meaning of the law. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 111(1), 23-45.
Kekes, J. (1996). Cruelty and liberalism. Ethics, 106(4), 834-44.
Kymlicka, W. (1995). Multicultural citizenship: A liberal theory of minority rights. New York: Oxford University Press.
Lekan, T. (2004). Integrating justice and care in animal ethics. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 21(2), 183-195.
Luke, B. (1995). Taming ourselves or going feral? Toward a nonpatriarchal metaethic of animal liberation. In C. J. Adams & J. Donovan (Eds.), Animals and women: Feminist theoretical explorations (pp. 290-319). Durham: Duke University Press.
Luke, B. (2007). Justice, caring and animal liberation. In J. Donovan & C. J. Adams (Eds.), The feminist care tradition in animal ethics (pp. 125-152). New York: Columbia University Press.
Melehy, H. (2006). Montaigne and ethics: The case of animals. L'Esprit Créateur, 46(1), 96-107.
Milligan, T. (2015). The political turn in animal rights. Politics and Animals, 1(1), 6-15.
Montaigne, M. (1580). On cruelty. The Essais, The Montaigne Project, Villey Edition. Retrieved from http://artflsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.0:3:10.montaigne
Nussbaum, M. (2006). Frontiers of Justice: Disability, nationality, species membership. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
O'Sullivan, S. (2007). Advocating for animals equally from within a liberal paradigm. Environmental Politics, 16(1), 1-14.
O'Sullivan, S. (2011). Animals, equality and democracy. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
Peterson, D. (2010). The moral lives of animals. New York: Bloomsbury Press.
Quinton, A. (1984). Moral minefields: Review of Ordinary Vices by Judith Shklar. The New Republic, November 26.
Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Regan, T. (1983). The case for animal rights. Berkeley, CA.: University of California Press.
Rollin, B. (2012). Animal ethics and recollection. In G. R. Smulewicz-Zucker (Ed.), Strangers to nature: Animal lives and human ethics (pp. 249-261). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Rowlands, M. (2012). Can animals be moral? New York: Oxford University Press.
Ryan, A. (1993). Liberalism. In R. E. Goodin & P. Pettit (Eds.), A companion to contemporary political philosophy (pp. 291-311). Oxford: Blackwell.
Safran Foer, J. (2009). Eating animals. New York: Little Brown and Company.
Sanbonmatsu, J. (2011). Introduction. In J. Sanbonmatsu (Ed.), critical theory and animal liberation (pp. 1-32). Lanham, MD.: Rowman and Littlefield.
Shklar, J. (1984). Ordinary Vices. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Shklar, J. (1989). The liberalism of fear. In N. Rosenblum (Ed.), Liberalism and the moral life (pp. 21-38). Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Singer, P. (1975). Animal liberation: A new ethics for our treatment of animals. New York: Harper Collins.
Smith, K. (2012). Governing animals: Animal welfare and the liberal state. New York: Oxford University Press.
Steeves, H. P. (Ed.). (1999). Animal others: On ethics, ontology and animal life. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Stullerova, K. (2013). Rethinking human rights. International Politics, 50(5), 686-705.
Stullerova, K. (2014). The knowledge of suffering: On Judith Shklar's 'Putting Cruelty First'. Contemporary Political Theory, 13(1), 23-45.
Suen, A. (2015). The speaking animal: Ethics, language and the human-animal divide. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Walzer, M. (1996). On negative politics. In B. Yack (Ed.), Liberalism without illusions: Essays on liberal theory and the political vision of Judith N. Shklar (pp. 17-24). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Warnock, G. J. (1987). Review of Ordinary Vices by Judith Shklar. History of European Ideas, 8(2), 230-31.
Wihl, G. (2001). Liberalism and the articulation of cruelty: An essay on Judith Shklar and D. M. Thomas. Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 43(4), 465-488.
Yack, B. (1996). Liberalism without illusions: An introduction to Judith Shklar's political thought. In B. Yack (Ed.), Liberalism without illusions: Essays on liberal theory and the political vision of Judith N. Shklar (pp. 1-13). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Copyright (c) 2016 Ruth Abbey
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).