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RIP: Tom Regan, Moral Philosopher And Animal Rights Pioneer, Dies At 78

Cody Fenwick: ‘Tom Regan, an American moral philosopher known for his groundbreaking work in the study of animal rights, died of pneumonia Friday, Feb. 17. He was 78. A professor emeritus at North Carolina State University, Regan was one of the rare philosophers whose work had import and influence outside academia. The former butcher became a vegan and a historic figure in the animal rights movement. Though he wrote many books and papers, his most notable work was “The Case for Animal Rights,” published in 1983 near the beginning of the modern animal movement. A monument in the history of animal rights philosophy, it sparked much subsequent debate and was translated into multiple languages. It is widely recognized as a classic text, but the book has been somewhat overshadowed for popular audiences by its predecessor, “Animal Liberation,” the 1975 book by Australian philosopher Peter Singer… As peers and collaborators, they sparred intellectually over ideas… In writing a case for animal rights, Regan was… distinguishing his view from that of Singer and similar thinkers, known as utilitarians, who reject the notion of “rights” as a conceptual matter. Utilitarians argue that certain features of the world, such as pain and pleasure, joy and suffering, are good or bad. The right thing to do, utilitarians tell us, is to maximize the amount of good in the world and minimize the amount of bad. They deny that morality is about “rights” — though protecting legal rights to property and freedom, for instance, may be prudent or wise in their view’. SOURCE…

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