Martha Nussbaum’s new book, Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility, looks like it’s about animals, but the more I read it, I found it about us, our values, and our behavior. Regular readers and listeners will see the similarity to how I approach the environment in general.
Not having eaten meat since 1990 and no animal products at all about ten years, I don’t find new materials on human treatment of animals. Candidly, I thought I’d just browse the book. I also don’t read much philosophy, which I find too often hard to read.
Instead, I kept reading the book until I finished it. I found her writing style accessible, her material heartfelt, and her motivations genuine. She takes a few controversial points, like predation and whether wildlife still exists. I don’t agree with each point but value that she made them.
I was interested in learning more of the story behind the story, which she shared in this conversation. She approaches how we treat animals from a more theoretical perspective than I do. She traces a history of humans considering animals’ rights, contrasting what worked or not with her view.