18 March 2014

What is a Subject of a Life?

Subject of a Life
We are all subjects of a life
What is a Subject of a Life? Just as your life story is uniquely yours, so every animal also has a unique life story. We are all individuals going through life. Each of us is a ‘subject of a life’, an expression that conveys a feeling for how similar we all are. In other words we are all equally weird under the skin. The phrase ‘subject of a life’ was popularised by the American philosopher and animal rights advocate Tom Regan (1938 - ). What Regan means by subject of a life is that each animal is a unique life story, just as the story of your life is peculiar to you and no one else, and in this sense animals are like us. Regan says we must change our perception of animals from things - objects we use - to animals with lives of their own, independent of us and our use of them. Regan says that even if subjects of a life cannot make moral choices or talk like humans, "what happens to them matters to them", so they should have moral rights.

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