Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1990

Abstract

The present article examines a concern I have had for some time about the compatibility of humanistic psychology with the emerging animal rights movement. Beyond working out my position, the paper has the additional educational and, frankly, political purpose of bringing animal rights issues to the attention of humanistic psychologists.

The article applies certain concepts of contemporary animal rights philosophy, notably "speciesism," to both the philosophy of humanism and humanistic psychology. While on a philosophical level, certain concepts are discussed that would likely block a rapprochement, I feel that humanistic psychologists as individuals are likely to extend their compassion to nonhuman animals.

A review of philosophical humanism reveals that its important concept of individuality excludes nonhuman animals. Within this conception, animals simply are not individuals. In fact, animals are employed as a categorical foil representing precisely the absence of reason and relative autonomy, hallmarks of individuality.

In humanistic psychology, the concept of self actualization is open to similar charges. A compatability and, hence a reconciliation, is suggested through a phenomenological rendering of empathy, a second concept critical to humanistic psychology.

Comments

This file contains a post-print version of the article, which has the same content as the final edited version but is not formatted according to the layout of the published journal.

Share

COinS